There was once a well-known doctor who was famous not only for his medical expertise, but also for his extraordinary bedside manner. He was gentle and kind, and often helped people far beyond the call of duty. He had one fault, though: he loved talking about his righteousness, and felt that he was due honor for his deeds.

Once, as the doctor traveled along in his fashionable coach, he noticed a rabbi walking along the side of the road. The good doctor graciously offered him a ride. The rabbi accepted. As they rode, the doctor began to talk about his good work. “When a patient comes to me who cannot afford to pay, I treat him exactly as I do a paying customer,” said the doctor.

“Oh, yes,” responded the rabbi, “I do the same.”

The doctor was surprised. The rabbi did not appear to have any medical skills at all. What could he mean? Most likely, mused the doctor quietly, he treats whoever asks him rabbinical questions in the same manner. Hmmm . . .

The doctor was flabbergasted to hear the rabbi say, “Aha! I do the same.”

The doctor spoke up again. “When I see patients who cannot afford to pay my fee, I provide free medication for them as well.”

The rabbi listened intently and responded with a curt “Nu, I do the same.”

Perplexed, the doctor began deliberating to himself: Was the rabbi dispensing medicine too? No, no, no . . . He must mean that when people need things from him for which he normally charges a fee, he gives it away to the needy for free.

The doctor tried again: “When I see patients who cannot afford to pay for my fee or medicine, and need to go elsewhere to recover from their illness, I sponsor their trips to various spas and health centers.”

Confident that he had now, finally, topped the rabbi, the doctor was flabbergasted to hear the rabbi say, “Aha! I do the same.”

This continued until finally the doctor lost patience. “Excuse me, honored rabbi. I don’t understand you,” he said with aggravation in his voice. “Are you a doctor? Do you provide medical care and medicine, or arrange that needy patients can stay in health spas? What do you mean, ‘I do the same?’”

The rabbi answered with a smile: “I just wanted to tell you that I, too, talk to others only about the good things I do. My faults I never talk about, just like you . . .”