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The thought that counts

Four Jewish brothers left home for college, and eventually they became successful doctors and lawyers, and they prospered. Some years later, they chatted after having dinner together. They discussed the gifts that they were able to give to their elderly mother, who lived in another city.

The first said, “I had a big house built for Mama.”

The second said, “I had a $100,000 theater built in the house.”

The third said, “I had my Mercedes dealer deliver her a brand-new car with a chauffeur.”

The fourth said, “Listen to this. You know how Mama loved reading the Torah, and you know she can’t anymore because she can’t see very well. I met this rabbi who told me about a parrot that can recite the entire Torah. It took 20 rabbis 12 years to teach him. I had to pledge to contribute $100,000 a year for 20 years to the temple, but it was worth it. Mama just has to name the chapter and verse and the parrot will recite it.”

The other brothers were impressed. After the holidays Mama sent out her thank-you notes. She wrote:

Milton Bubeleh, the house you built is so huge, I live in only one room, but I have to clean the whole house. Thanks anyway.

Menachim Tataleh, you give me an expensive theater with Dolby sound. It could hold 50 people, but all my friends are dead. I’ve lost my hearing and I’m nearly blind. I’ll never use it. Thank you for the gesture just the same.

Marvin Main Shayne Kinde, I am too old to travel. I stay home. I have my groceries delivered, so I never use the Mercedes and the driver you hired is a Nazi. The thought was good. Thanks.

Dearest Melvin, you were the only son to have the good sense to give a little thought to your gift. The chicken was delicious.