Yashar
HOLINESS/KEDUSHA
OCTOBER  2015

A Mussar Gem

“It appears to my limited thought that this mitzvah [of holiness] includes the entire foundation and root of the purpose of our lives. All of our work and effort should constantly be sanctified to doing good for the community. We should not use any act, movement, or get benefit or enjoyment that doesn’t have in it some element of helping another. And as understood, all holiness is being set apart for an honorable purpose—which is that a person straightens his path and strives constantly to make his lifestyle dedicated to the community. Then, anything he does even for himself, for the health of his body and soul, he also associates to the mitzvah of being holy, for through this he can also do good for the masses. Through the good he does for himself, he can do good for the many who rely on him. But if he derives benefit from some kind of permissible thing that isn’t needed for the health of his body and soul, that benefit is in opposition to holiness. For in this he is benefiting himself (for that moment as it seems to him), but no one else.”
– Rabbi Shimon Shkop, Introduction to Sha’arei Yosher [trans. R’ Micha Berger]


Register for the Kallah Now!

Nov. 12–15 at the Illinois Beach Resort in Zion, IL. Early registration costs $525 until October 9. After October 9 the rate will be $575.

Register now.


With Heart in Mind

Available now! Order


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Donations & Memberships

The Mussar Institute depends on the generosity of supporters. Please consider making a donation to honor someone or to remember a loved one.

Thank you to our generous donors & members:

  • Jeffrey Amer
  • Caryl Goodman and Austin Wertheimer, in honor of Sandy Garrett’s birthday
  • Jeffrey Balin
  • Robert Barris
  • Judith Beltz
  • Jonathan Biatch
  • Alice Cooper
  • Lana Croft
  • Fran Danoff
  • Bruce and Enid Frank
  • Sandra Garrett
  • Nicole Greninger
  • Stephen Haas
  • Julie Hirschfeld
  • Steven Kraus, in memory of Kenneth Sterling
  • Steven Kraus, in honor of Jules and Pat Mendelsohn for a healthy and happy new year
  • Steven Kraus, in memory of Phyllis Kraus
  • Steven Kraus, in memory of Hannah Sterling
  • Joanne Lancin, in memory of Celia Spurr
  • Gene Landon, in honor of Alan Morinis
  • Lesley Levin
  • Ellen Miller
  • Lisa Miller
  • Susie Moskowitz
  • Linda Owen, for the blessings of Mussar
  • Linda Owen
  • Ellen Rosen
  • James Rosen
  • Jan Salis
  • Gary Shaffer
  • Brad Sham, in honor of Alan Morinis and Marsha Cohn
  • Bria and Evan Silbert, in honor of Alan Morinis and Jeff Agron
  • Nancy Spitalnick
  • Betsy Teitell, in honor of Pam Rollins
  • Betsy Teitell
  • Lisa Westfield

Membership

TMI Membership for 2015–2016 is now open. Support TMI and take advantage of special offerings for members. Click here for more information. 

Donations are gratefully accepted.

pushke


THE MUSSAR INSTITUTE

For further information on The Mussar Institute, visit www.MussarInstitute.org
Email address: info@mussarinstitute.org
Phone: 305-610-7260

Alan MorinisThrough a Mussar Lens: Defining Holiness

There are soul-traits (middot) that can be understood and defined in very human terms. But holiness is not among them. Holiness is a personal spiritual quality that has one foot in this world and another foot in a world beyond. When HaShem gives us our human job description in the Torah, telling us “kedoshim tihiyu”—“You shall be holy”—that verse (Leviticus / Vayikra 19:1) ends with the emphatic, “ki kadosh ani”—God saying, “Because I am holy.” Holiness is both our potential and a quality of the divine.

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Kallah XIII: Passionately Balanced

Early registration fee of $525 is available until Oct. 9. After that, the fee will be $575.

Register now

Yaakov Yechezkel, our 15-month-old son, took his precious first steps a few weeks past his first birthday. Since that time, he has become quite proficient and generally totters around the house without issue. He runs into trouble, however, when trying to do two things at once. If he tries to grab something while walking or tries to show someone what’s in his hand, he loses his balance and tumbles over.

man with lots of post-it notes on himBalance is relatively easy when we can focus on just one or two tasks or when we have just one role to fill. But adult life is not that simple. There is so much to be done and so many roles to fill that balancing it all becomes a real challenge. How can we balance our roles of parent and child, spouse and co-worker? How do we balance our personal needs with the needs of our family and of our community? How can we organize our time effectively so that we can maintain our own inner balance?

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Bulletin Board

Bulletin board with these items: TMI at Reform Bienniel; "Heart in Mind" Course; journalTMI at the Reform Biennial: The Mussar Institute will present a program at the Union for Reform Judaism Biennial 2015, being held from November 4 to 8 in Orlando, Florida.

On Thursday afternoon of the Biennial, TMI representatives will speak about Seeking Everyday Holiness, a community-strengthening program that introduces participants to Mussar. In the past year, dozens of URJ congregational rabbis were trained by TMI and then brought the program back to their communities, where hundreds of congregants participated. In this session, moderator Rabbi Eric Gurvis (Temple Shalom), along with Rabbi Adam Stock Spilker (Mount Zion), Rabbi Jill Maderer (Rodeph Shalom), and Rabbi Darryl Crystal (Temple Beth David) and members of their congregations will share their experiences.

For more information about the Biennial, please visit www.urj.org/biennial.

Shambhala Course: Shambhala Publications, in partnership with TMI, is offering Transforming Heart and Soul: An Online Course on the Jewish Tradition of Mussar.
The seven-week course is led by Alan Morinis using video lessons and live conference calls and is based on his latest book, With Heart in Mind.

TMI members are eligible for a special discount. Members: watch for an email with details. Join now for this and other benefits.

Mussar in the Sukkah: Rabbi Chaim Safren gives a video teaching on how to prolong the good resolutions you made during Yom Kippur by sitting in the Sukkah.


The Practice Corner

The practice to cultivate holiness involves three distinct steps:

1. Separate yourself from defiling influences.
What do you indulge in that is defiling? The traditional definition would include nonkosher food, improper sexual relations, theft, idol worship and the like. Identify where you are drawn to things that are not pure and have a defiling influence and determine to stop pursuing one of those things for at least the next week.

self control key2. Be restrained in things that are permitted to you.
Jewish law has no problem with satisfying desires. Food, drink, sex, sleep and whatever you might naturally crave are not forbidden to you. But the spiritual challenge is to restrain yourself to indulging in permitted things only to the extent that is healthy and necessary. Identify an area of permitted activity that you engage in where your heart knows you could and should restrain yourself more. Set goals and boundaries for the next week for being restrained in that way.

chicken sitting on puppy and guarding chick3. Dedicate all your actions to the welfare of others.
Holiness represents a dedication to the welfare of others and a commitment to benefit others through our actions. This is both a practice that leads to holiness and a measure of its presence. Choose a very mundane activity—it could be washing your body or feeding yourself or getting dressed or the like—and for the next week, consciously dedicate that activity to the well-being of others. “I wash my body to be healthy in order to serve others.” “I dress myself in order to be able to go out in public to serve others.” “I feed myself in order to gain the strength I need to serve others.” Decide on the activity you will dedicate to the welfare of others and make a practice of articulating this dedication on a daily basis for a week, or more.


Newsletter Home

Through a Mussar Lens: Defining Holiness – by Alan Morinis

Kallah XIII: Passionately Balanced – by Avi Fertig


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Copyright 2015 © The Mussar Institute

A Mussar Gem

“It appears to my limited thought that this mitzvah [of holiness] includes the entire foundation and root of the purpose of our lives. All of our work and effort should constantly be sanctified to doing good for the community. We should not use any act, movement, or get benefit or enjoyment that doesn’t have in it some element of helping another. And as understood, all holiness is being set apart for an honorable purpose—which is that a person straightens his path and strives constantly to make his lifestyle dedicated to the community. Then, anything he does even for himself, for the health of his body and soul, he also associates to the mitzvah of being holy, for through this he can also do good for the masses. Through the good he does for himself, he can do good for the many who rely on him. But if he derives benefit from some kind of permissible thing that isn’t needed for the health of his body and soul, that benefit is in opposition to holiness. For in this he is benefiting himself (for that moment as it seems to him), but no one else.”
– Rabbi Shimon Shkop, Introduction to Sha’arei Yosher [trans. R’ Micha Berger]


Register for the Kallah Now!

Nov. 12–15 at the Illinois Beach Resort in Zion, IL. Early registration costs $525 until October 9. After October 9 the rate will be $575.

Register now.


With Heart in Mind

Available now! Order


wwwfollow us on facebook

FOLLOW US ON:

Forward to a friend

Join our mailing list


Donations & Memberships

The Mussar Institute depends on the generosity of supporters. Please consider making a donation to honor someone or to remember a loved one.

Thank you to our generous donors & members:

Membership

TMI Membership for 2015–2016 is now open. Support TMI and take advantage of special offerings for members. Click here for more information. 

Donations are gratefully accepted.

pushke


THE MUSSAR INSTITUTE

For further information on The Mussar Institute, visit www.MussarInstitute.org
Email address: info@mussarinstitute.org
Phone: 305-610-7260