Once on the occasion of 13 Tishrey the Rebbe told the following story:
– … The furnishings in the Tzemach Tzedek’s home were extremely simple and generally made of plain unfinished wood. One of his chassidim once brought him a particularly beautiful object for the home, but the Tzemach Tzedek answered, “I don’t need it, give it to my son” – the Rebbe Maharash.
This story reflects their lifestyles in general: the Tzemach Tzedek lived extremely simply, while the Rebbe Maharash lived in great wealth. This difference was certainly not due to their relative wealth, for the Tzemach Tzedek had a great deal of money but chose to live in such a fashion. He nevertheless limited such a path to himself, and consented that his son should live differently; and even instructed one of his chassidim to bring this expensive object to him.
The simple lesson we can take from this is that in a child’s education, chinuch, one must minimize the importance of wealth.
Through such an upbringing, the child will be able to reach a level where the wealth doesn’t control him, but rather that he should be able to utilize the wealth in a proper fashion. In the case of the Rebbe Maharash, this was to aid his comprehension in Torah study, as is said: “Beautiful things expand understanding (daat)“. (From the Rebbe’s talk, 13th Day of Tishrei, 5743)
Tishrei 13 is the yahrtzeit of Rabbi Shmuel Schneersohn – Rebbe Maharash. He is known for authoring and delivering more than 1,000 maamarim (discourses) of Chassidic teaching. Rebbe Maharash was extensively involved in Jewish communal affairs. He worked a lot on the creation of Jewish settlements throughout the Russian Empire and even went to the capital, Petersburg, to discuss this issue with the authorities. He traveled throughout Europe in order to generate pressure on the Russian government to halt its instigation of pogroms against the Jews of Russia.