Lesbian and Gay Parenting book coverFamily Matters

A column by Arlene (Ari) Istar Lev

Mother as Juggler, 2008

Posted By on January 1, 2008

There is an old Jewish story that goes something like this:
Once upon a time there was a man who lived with his wife, seven children, and aging mother-in-law in a small house. The house was always noisy and messy, and one day he just couldn’t take it anymore and went to the Rabbi for advice. The Rabbi smiled and said, “Do you have chickens?” “Yes,” the man said, “I have chickens.” “Well, bring the chickens into the house.” “Into the house?” the man cries. “Try it,” says the Rabbi. The man leaves muttering, but dutifully brings the chickens into the crowded house. A week later he returns to the Rabbi, tears running down his face. “Rabbi,” he says, “The house is worse than ever. The chickens are squawking, and there is poop everywhere. This was a horrible idea. Please help me.” The Rabbi smiles, “Do you have a goat?” “Yes, Rabbi, I have a goat,” he answers. “Bring the goat into the house too.” The man cannot believe his ears, but dutifully brings the goat into the house to join the chickens and his family. The next week he returns to the Rabbi, tears streaming down his face. “Please Rabbi, please help me, my house is a zoo, my family is out of control.” The Rabbi gently says, “Bring the chickens and the goat back to the barnyard.” The man does as he is told and returns to the Rabbi a week later…

To read the rest of this article, please download the PDF file Mother as Juggler.