Several years ago in Mobile, AL I belonged to a small Torah study group that met every Wednesday at lunchtime. The rabbi had a hard time keeping our group on-topic; consequently, everything but the Torah was discussed. One day was particularly memorable.
A woman named Sharon began telling the story of how her son was playing in the woods one day, and found what he thought was an abandoned baby gerbil. The kid took pity on the little tyke and brought him home. Sharon had no idea how to care for such an infant, nor did anyone else in the neighborhood so off to the vet they went.
At this point the rabbi tried to get us back on track, but was shut down. All eyes, ears and minds were on Sharon and the fate of the orphan. Moses and Golden Calf were put on-hold indefinitely.
It turned out that the baby gerbil was really a baby opossum. According to the vet there was no way to care for him since creatures of his age lived in their mother’s pouch, like a kangaroo.
Things looked grim for the orphan until Sharon asked if he could survive living in her hair. Sharon had long, thick blond hair down to her rear end; the kind any baby opossum would be thrilled to inhabit for several weeks.
So that’s what they did. For the next four or five weeks, Fido made his home in Sharon’s hair. He only came out to eat and hopefully go potty at the same time. However, if the two events didn’t coincide it was no big deal: being that Fido was so tiny, how much waste could he produce?
Fido, of course, went everywhere with Sharon: grocery shopping, work, and yes, to bed.
That was when her husband stopped sleeping with her.
I did have to ask how she managed not to mash Fido in her sleep. It turned out that Fido was just lucky.
Eventually Fido outgrew Sharon’s head. It was time for him to strike out on his own and be the opossum that the Universe intended. Upon the vet’s final examination, plans were made to free Fido.
Sharon and her son drove to the spot where Fido was found and let him go. Fido scampered off without a backward glance, as Sharon bid him a tearful goodbye.
Thus, completing that week’s Torah study.