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Change and the Dead Parrot


“Its about the parrot you sold me” said a severely disgruntled parrot customer,

“What, the Norwegian blue, beautiful plumage, what’s up with him then?”

“He’s dead!”, lips pursed, anger increasing,

“No, no he’s not dead, he’s resting.  Exquisite colouring”,

Red faced, “Look, I paid a small fortune for this bird and he’s dead as a dodo!”,

“Dear sir you are so mistaken, he really is fine, he’s just pining for the fjords”,

Customer, picking up a very stiff parrot and slamming it on the counter, furious “he’s passed on, shuffled off his mortal coil; he is no longer with us!”.  The argument continues with no clear resolution. (Courtesy of Monty Python)


Yip, its that time of year again.  The Days of Awe looming ahead prompt us to think about teshuva and change.  But, almost the moment the thoughts come into our heads, a little voice creeps into our minds’ ear and says, “You can’t really change, you didn’t last year or the year before and this year will be no different.”  For us, change is the dead parrot, and the wily pet shop owner is the ridiculous, out of touch, frum voice that insists our dead teshuva is indeed alive!

The internal dialogue goes something like this: “Ok its Elul, I better do teshuva and change”, confident, strident,

“But I don’t want to change and even the things I do, that I don’t like doing, I have given up hope on really changing them”, frustrated hopeless,

“Well, tough luck, you don’t have a choice, it’s that time of year”, insistent, nagging,

“But I can’t!”, exasperated

“Ok, I’ll tell you what, let’s make a deal, you don’t have to change, just pretend until the end of Yom Kippur and then you can go back to normal”, persuasive

”But that’s just lying to myself and to Hashem!”, indignant,

”It’s ok, everyone does it that way”, smug and victorious.

Pretty pathetic isn’t it!  How can we go through the same charade year after year?  What will prompt us to break this absurd cycle?

I have an inkling of the answer, but you have to be prepared to hear it. If you are, send us a comment saying that you sincerely want to know how you can really change, otherwise keep on living the lie.

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