After hearing all of these details, Rav Salanter agreed to come.
However when he came he rushed the meal and it was shortened by many hours. One course was brought quickly after the other, and before an hour had passed, they were ready to say the grace after meals.
The talmid, unable to contain himself, turned to Rav Salanter and asked what had been wrong with his normal way of conducting the meal. Instead of answering directly, Rav Salanter summoned the widow who had done the cooking and serving. He turned to her and said, “Please forgive me for rushing you so much this evening. I know you are accustomed to having a nice, long break between each course.”
The widow said, “I wish you would come every Shabbat!”
“Because I get up at 5 in the morning for all the preparations. By the evening I’m falling off my feet. I can’t take it anymore. I wait so long to finish what I have to do and go to sleep. Now you came, Rebbe, and finished in such a short time. Now for the very first time in a long time I can finish what I have to do and I can go to sleep like a mensch.”
Rav Salanter turned to his talmid and explained that while his normal meal schedule was very beautiful, he should not be a very fine person on someone elses cheshbon (account).