The Gaon then told the merchant what to do. “You will have to hurry for its almost Shabbos,” he said, “and may G-d be with you.

The merchant immediately went to the rich man’s home and knocked on his door. A servant came out and offered him a penny.


“I want no charity,” firmly declared the merchant. “I came to see Reb Lazer.”

“What can I do for you?” queried Reb Lazer, as the merchant was escorted into his room.

“I can’t talk to you with all these people around,” said the visitor. “Have you a private room somewhere around?”

Whereupon they withdrew to a secluded corner of the house.

“Say Reb Lazer,” said the merchant, looking apprehensively around, “what could you offer me for a diamond as large as an egg?”

“I can’t say offhand,” replied the wealthy man, his eyes bulging with expectation. “Stay with us over Shabbos, rest up a little and then we’ll talk business.”

“I hate to impose upon you,” remonstrated the visitor considerately. “You have expected no guests and it wouldn’t be fair either to you or your wife. Besides, I left my Shabbos clothes in the hotel.”

“Never mind,” assured the host. “There is plenty to eat in the house and plenty of rooms. And as to clothes, you may put on one of my suits.”

All Shabbos the stranger was entertained in the most generous manner. The host saw to it that he did not leave the house all day for fear that somebody else might approach him.

When Shabbos was over, Reb Lazer broached the matter to the guest. Now,” he said, “Let me see the diamond.”

“Did I ever say I had a diamond?” replied the stranger, as he rose to go. I just wanted to know what you could offer me for a diamond of such a size in case I happen to find one.”

And with that he took his leave.