There is an old Hasidic story that goes something like this:
Once upon a time in the shtetl there was a rich man who became mentally ill and thought he was a chicken. He would strip down to his undergarments – which he regarded as his feathers – sit under the table and eat crumbs. If he spoke – he sounded like a rooster .The family was concerned, to say the least.

His grandmother was especially worried: "If he vont eat heez chicken zoop he gonna be zick!" Needless to say: as a chicken, he refused chicken soup.

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All efforts to reason with him, all interventions by learned doctors and professors, were all to naught. He stayed a chicken.
Months after this started, one of the famous Hasidic masters passed through the village. The family beseeched him to help. He agreed on condition the family give him a free hand and refrain from saying anything while he healed the sick man. After agreeing – the master entered the sick man-chicken's house who was eating crumbs under the table, as usual. The master then stripped down to his undergarments, carefully folding his clothes over a chair, and then got down under the table with the man-chicken.


The man-chicken looked suspiciously at the master and crowed: "Whooo are youuu?"

The master looked the sick man in the eye and replied in regular speech: "Oh, I'm a chicken. Nice to meet you!"

"But youuu talk reguuu-lar like a yoo-min?!"

"Well", the master replied, "Chickens can talk like this, too."

"Really??" the sick man asked.

"Of course! Didn't you know that? Didn't you attend chicken college?"

The sick man – now speaking in a regular voice – replied: "Well no, I didn't know that. I didn't even know that there was a school for chickens!"

"Of course there is!" The master then let out a long sigh, stood up straight, and sat in a chair.

"What are you doing??" asked the sick man.

"Why, sitting down comfortably in this chair, of course" replied the master.

"But you're a chicken?!"

"Chickens can sit in chairs, too" the master replied. So the sick man – who was really tired of squatting all day long under the table, got up carefully and sat in his chair.

The next step was for the master to get dressed again. "What are you doing now?" asked the sick man. "You're wearing clothes?"

"Of course" the master said nonchalantly, "Chickens can wear clothes, too."

The very last step was for the master to signal the family to bring food to the table. The master pleasantly picked up a fork and knife – and started eating a piece of chicken!

"My God! What are you doing??" the sick man asked in total surprise.

The grandmother, sitting in the back of the room, was saying: "Tell heem eet not any chicken he know personally, so not worry, he can eat chicken zoop!". The other family members hushed her and waited with bated breath for the master to pronounce.

"My dear friend, you have been misled and educated wrongly. You see: a real chicken does everything a man does, including having a full, nourishing meal. Eat up!" the master said to the sick man. So the sick man ate with gusto! Wouldn't you, after eating crumbs for months?!

That was how the sick man became functional again, even going back to work. He still believed he was a chicken, but his definition of chicken had been broadened to include the fact that a chicken could act just like a human, even eat chicken soup – and still call himself a chicken.

Recently I read about a non-Zionist (actually anti-Israel) "synagogue" that sympathizes more with Israel's enemies than with Israel. Someone else wrote: "Zionism is a movement to reinstate Israel as a Jewish homeland, so Zionism and championing the innate rights of the Palestinian people are not inherently mutually exclusive… I … advocate for the rights of the Palestinian people, and I believe that they should be granted a homeland, just as we were. And, above all, I am a Zionist."

They forgot to say that they were chickens, too. After all: Zionists can be anti-Zionists, too, can't they?

 
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