Once there was a young rabbi who settled down in a community. He was eager to teach and make his mark in the world. After several months he had been invited to speak at the local temple and had taught a few students, felt that he was still in the shadow of old rabbi who had been there for many years. The students flocked to learn from this old man and the young man had no followers at all.
The young man knew that the only way to attract more students towards him was by discrediting the old rabbi in front of all his students. The young man thought about it for many day & nights until at last he devised a plan. He decided to approach the old teacher during his morning lesson. The young rabbi would keep a live dove in his hand, behind his back. Then he would ask the old man if the bird he was holding was dead or alive, the young man would break the bird’s neck with his fingers and present a dead bird to him. The young rabbi’s plan was foolproof. There was no way for the old teacher to win this contest. This would finally prove that the old man was not as wise as the people in the community thought.
The morning came and, as the old man and his students sat in the shade of a huge tree, the young man approached. The young rabbi waited for just the right moment, and then he stood up and spoke.
“Rabbi,” he started, “I have in my hand a bird. Is it alive or dead?”
The old man looked up at him with a face that was serene, but also a bit sad. “That, my friend, is entirely up to you.” he said.
The young rabbi stood there for a moment – disillusioned. Finally, he let the bird go and sat down at the feet of the old man.