In a small nineteenth century Russian shtetl, two families negotiate with a prominent yeshiva to provide two students as husbands for their daughters. The two young men set out for the town. On the way, their wagon is attacked by Cossacks, and one of the men is killed. When the survivor finally arrives in the town, a fight breaks out between the mothers of the two unmarried girls: Each claims that the young man is the intended groom for her daughter. The man himself can shed no light on the matter, and the case is brought before the local rabbi.
"Cut the boy in half," the rabbi finally rules, and let each girl be given half of his body".
"Oh, no!" the first mother says. "Don't kill him. My daughter will give up her claim".
"Go ahead and cut" the other mother says.
The rabbi stands up and points to the second woman. "That is the mother-in-law".
Steve Sheffey, Highland Park, IL, USA