Weekly Chasidic Story #818 (s5773-47 / 22 Menachem-Av 5773)

Chicken Little

“I will give you the answer about King Moshiach in two months,” Rabbi Yonatan Eibeshitz replied.

Connections: Weekly Reading: a few weeks overdue from parshat Balak

A royal minister once debated with Rabbi Yonatan Eibeshitz in front of the king.

“Your holy books say that the Mashiach will come as a poor man riding on a donkey,” the minister said. “How is this possible? After all, he will have to conquer all the world’s mighty kings and have them all yield to him.”

“I will give you the answer in two months,” Rabbi Yonatan replied.

Rabbi Yonatan then asked the king for permission to order in the king’s name each of the royal ministers to buy a chicken, care for it very well, and bring it to the palace in two month’s time. The king agreed, and Rabbi Yonatan issued the order.

Each minister brought a large chicken, personally cared for it, and fattened it for two months. On the appointed day they brought their chickens to the royal palace.

As they entered, they saw Rabbi Yonatan standing there holding a small, scrawny chicken, all skin and bones.

“Put all the chickens in one room,” Rabbi Yonatan instructed.

The ministers did as they were told. Rabbi Yonatan included his own scrawny chicken along with the others. Then he, the ministers, and the king lined up outside, looking in the windows to see what would happen.

The strong, healthy chickens began to fight among themselves, clawing at one another, drawing blood. At the end of the lively battle, all of them were lying dead. Only then did Rabbi Yonatan’s chicken, which had been hiding in a corner during the fighting, emerge from its hiding place. It went over to the dead birds and began pecking at them.

The minister laughed at the spectacle. Then Rabbi Yonatan explained.

“This is the way it will be in the times of Mashiach. Kingdoms will war with one another until all the mighty kings will topple from their thrones. Then our king, Mashiach, will come and conquer them all. May it happen speedily in our days. Amen!”

[Source: Adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from “Stories my Grandfather told me” (Mesorah) by Zev Greenwald]

Biographic note:
Rabbi Yonasan Eibeshitz (1660 – 21 Elul 1764) died in Metz. He was Rabbi of many cities including Posen, Prague and Altuna, and the author of many books.


Yerachmiel Tilles is co-founder and associate director of Ascent-of-Safed, and chief editor of this website (and of He has hundreds of published stories to his credit, and many have been translated into other languages. He tells them live at Ascent nearly every Saturday night.