The Jewish Eye
The Unlikely Nest
One day, Rav Ezra Attia, the Great Rosh Yeshivah of Porat Yosef (1885-1970), was giving over his daily shiur in Gemara to a group of talmidei chachamim and balabattim. The shiur that day was on Masectas Chulin, and the discussion was on the mitzvah of shiluach haken -sending the mother bird away before taking her eggs. Rav Ezra quoted the Gemara in Chulin which questions what procedure to use if one finds a nest on the head of a person. One of the participants commented in a scornful voice, "What kind of Gemara is this? Why does the Gemara discuss such an implausible scenario?"
R' Ezra answered firmly, "Whatever is written in the Gemara is kodesh, and we are forbidden to doubt any of it, chalila." The man remained silent, but it was apparent to the others that he was not satisfied and was skeptical of the relevance of this Gemara.
Suddenly, one of the rav's talmidim, who had been absent for an extended time, entered the room. Rav Ezra greeted him warmly, "Sholom Aleichem! Where have you been? We missed you!" The talmid answered, "I was traveling for business reasons. Actually, I was in India - which is quite an interesting country."
Rav Ezra queried, "What's so interesting about it?" The talmid replied, "I saw strange things there that I've never seen anywhere else. Once, I actually saw a man sitting completely still under a tree with his arms folded. He sat in that position for three days, and on the third day, a bird landed on his head and started to construct a nest in his hair."
"He didn't send the bird away?"
"No. He continued sitting in the same position without moving."
Rav Ezra smiled broadly. "That is quite interesting. We can clearly see that the Gemara does not ask about "implausible scenarios" and that ‘Moshe emes v'soraso emes.'"
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