When people ask me what’s on my mind, they’ll say “a penny for your thoughts.”

When I take the initiative to tell them what’s on my mind, it’s putting in my “two cents.”

We’re commanded not to overcharge or undercharge by more than a sixth (see the fourth perek of Bava Metzi’a). Isn’t this clearly a violation of that, in that I’m giving something worth two cents when he only is offering one?

This assumes that all amounts discussed are at least a shava perutah.

This question is Purim Torah and is not intended to be taken completely seriously. See the Purim Torah policy.

  • This is actually a big problem! We can therefore not think on Shabbos because of the issues of money. Even without money, since we are nidon al shem sofo, and sof ma'aseh, bmachshava techila, if we start with thinking, we are judged as if we did an action!
    – rosends
    Feb 15, 2018 at 15:09
  • Additionally, one cannot have an idea on Shabbos because that little light bulb would go on.
    – rosends
    Mar 7, 2019 at 11:42

2 Answers 2


Actually, according to Megila 18a, a word is worth a penny and silence is worth two (מילה בסלע ומשתוקא בתרין). So when you put in your two cents, you're charging the listener for the breaking of your silence. When he offers you a penny to speak, he is merely compensating you for the net loss of a penny from breaking your silence.

  • 4
    You posted this answer silently, but I can only give you +1.
    – Double AA
    Feb 15, 2018 at 15:43
  • 1
    You assume a penny is a sela, while I had been assuming it’s worth a perutah. Hm.
    – DonielF
    Feb 15, 2018 at 16:48

This is an excellent question. Speaking of thoughts, you read my mind as I was discussing this exact problem with a co-worker the other day. We both agreed that it was a problem because whenever you verbalize your thoughts, you lose money.

You have the situation reversed. When you verbalize your thoughts, you're giving information, not taking it. So, you're actually losing money, not overcharging.

I would further caution offering your thoughts graphically or, rather, pictorially. A picture is worth a thousand words.

In summary, there is no problem of overcharging, because you're losing money.

  • 1
    Then it’s ona’ah the other way..,
    – DonielF
    Feb 15, 2018 at 16:48
  • Questionable if it's that. The asker is not directly oppressing you. He's offering you a penny. He's not necessarily requesting a response, and you can refuse the offer of even taking the penny. Also, note, that he's implying that he will give you the penny after you respond, so you haven't taken any money from him, yet. The rules of it costing you an extra penny are established by someone else, not by the requester.
    – DanF
    Feb 15, 2018 at 17:22
  • 1
    I suppose Ona’ah does only apply if you’re unaware of the discrepancy...
    – DonielF
    Feb 15, 2018 at 17:23

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