PLETTEN (Yid. פלעטען; "meal tickets"), an arrangement begun at the end of the 15th century which ensured meals for the itinerant needy. In many communities in Germany, Poland, and other countries, the itinerant poor person – usually either a yeshivah student or a beggar – received a slip of paper bearing the name of the house owner who would provide food, drink, and lodging for him for at least three days. It was obligatory to provide for someone who had one of these pletten and householders who refused were fined; in many communal registers the rates of such fines were recorded. Eventually those who refused were publicly denounced in the synagogue, and in some synagogues the names of such offenders were recorded on a special board.
Baron, Community, 3 (1942), index; I. Levitats, Jewish Community in Russia (1943), 250–1.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.