A doktor

[A Doctor]


Sholem Shadkhn [Sholem the Matchmaker] keeps trying in vain to get Khayim-Leyb to read a letter, and the latter’s protests become so loud and pained that his wife comes running in. Khane-Leye convinces her husband to read the letter, though he keeps breaking off to wonder why he’s reading it. Sholem Shadkhn takes over, and proceeds to the part about a match for Khayim-Leyb’s daughter. Khane-Leye and Khayim-Leyb then argue about how much the dowry will be; she says twenty thousand, while he insists on ten thousand. Their son Abramtshik enters, showing off his knowledge of Russian to Sholem, while his parents crow with pride. He is sure that his sister will marry only a doctor. Khane-Leye tells the matchmaker that she wants only a doctor for her daughter, while Khayim-Leyb insists on a merchant. They drive Sholem Shadkhn crazy with their arguing, until he suggests, “You know what? I’ll give you a merchant who heals, or a doctor who deals, and let that be an end to it.” Vyeratshke enters, dressed to the nines and greeting Sholem Shadkhn in French. She laughs at his simplicity, at how her parents argue, and at his offer of a “doctorly merchant or a mercantile doctor.” Vyeratshke explodes with laughter, repeatedly crying, “A doctor!” The servants come in, asking who needs a doctor. Sholem Shadkhn concludes, “They all need a doctor.”