One day a rich and learned Jew came to one of the great European centers of Torah learning to search for a fitting match for his wise, pious and beautiful daughter. He invited all of the eligible young scholars in the town to the main synagogue that evening, and posed to them a difficult Talmudic problem. Whoever could solve the problem to his satisfaction, he announced, would win his daughter’s hand in marriage, and his own pledge to provide financial support for the couple and their future children for twenty years while the worthy scholar pursued his studies.

The town’s scholars struggled to understand the problem, and then labored through the night to solve it. Dozens of answers were submitted to the visitor, but he refuted them all. He remained in town for three days, without any further success. Disappointed, he ordered his bags packed for his early departure the next day.

The next morning he climbed into his carriage, settled into his seat, and gave the signal to his driver to crack his whip. As the horses trotted off, a young student could be seen running toward the carriage, shouting for him to wait. The man ordered his driver to stop, and the young man looked in the window.

“Just a minute! Wait!” cried the young man, panting to catch his breath. “You can’t go yet! You must tell me the answer!”

“Pardon me?” asked the visitor.

“Ever since you posed the question,” said the student, “I haven’t been able to sleep. I’ve been grappling with it day and night, but try as I might, the solution eludes me. I must know the answer! You cannot go without telling me!”

“Ah!” cried the scholar, satisfied at last. “You are the one whom I want for a son-in-law!”