Chassidic master Rabbi DovBer of Mezeritch (d. 1772) was once visited by a prestigious rabbi who was amazed at the poverty he encountered in Rabbi DovBer’s home. Remarking on the simple wooden basin out of which Rabbi DovBer washed his hands, he exclaimed: “Rabbi, why must a man of your stature lead such a frugal existence? At my home, we wash our hands with a silver chalice!”
“And what is the source of your wealth?” asked the Chassidic leader.
“Rabbi,” replied the visitor, “I don’t sit secluded in a small hamlet, as you do. I travel extensively, visiting the capitals and commercial centers of Europe. Our wealthy brethren who reside there contribute generously to my institutions and my living expenses.”
Said Rabbi DovBer: “Why should I travel to faraway lands so that a silver chalice should sit in my home? I prefer that the silver should remain in a foreign capital, while I live at home.”
Adapted from the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe by Yanki Tauber