It was Erev Shabbos and Mr. Kleinman found himself alone in a strange
town. He went to the local shul. After services, Mr. Putterman came
over and invited Mr. Kleinman to be his Shabbos guest. They go to Mr.
Putterman's home, Mr. Kleinman takes a beautiful hot bath with scented
soap, and dries himself with fluffy towels. They have a delicious
meal, afterwards Mr. Kleinman falls asleep on a comfy bed with fresh
sheets. In short, for the entire Shabbos the Puttermans treat Mr.
Kleinman like royalty.
Now, it's time to go. Mr. Kleinman says, "This was a delightful
Shabbos. Thank you so much. What can I do to repay you?"
"Attend to this," says Putterman, handing over a bit of paper where it
Warm bath 3 kopeks
2 cakes soap 2 kopeks
clean towels 3 kopeks
full Shabbos dinner 1.5 rubles
overnight lodging 2 rubles
fresh sheets 2 kopeks
total 3 rubles and 50 kopeks
"You're charging me?" asked the incredulous Mr. Kleinman.
"But you invited me! I was your Shabbos guest! I've never heard of
such a thing! This is outrageous!"
"Nevertheless, if you could just settle up...."
"I will do no such thing!"
"Alright," sighed Mr. Putterman. "Let's not argue. Let's take this
case to the rabbi and let him decide."
"That suits me fine," said Kleinman and off they went to the local
In the Rabbi's study Kleinman laid out his case. The rabbi listened and
stroked his beard. When Kleinman finished he asked Putterman, "Do you
have anything to add?"
"No," said Putterman, "It happened exactly as Mr. Kleinman described."
"In that case," said the rabbi, "based on numerous Talmudic precedents
and on similar cases found in the reposa, it is my decision that Mr.
Kleinman should pay Mr. Putterman."
Kleinman was dumbfounded. Still a rabbi had heard, a rabbi had
considered and a rabbi had reached a decision. The two men thanked
the rabbi and left.
Outside, Mr. Kleinman began counting out his money.
"What are you doing?" asked Putterman.
"I'm going to pay you."
"Don't be meshugah. You were my guest. I was honored to have you spend
Shabbos with me. I hope you'll come again."
"But you gave me a bill, we had a dispute, a decision was rendered."
"Oh, that!" said Putterman. "I just wanted you to see what kind of
schmuck we have for a rabbi."