Jerusalem is once again in the news, as it has been for the last 3,000 years. It is an utter mystery why one small little piece of earth located in no particularly dominating location should dominate the headlines generation after generation. Perhaps we get a clue from the name of the city itself — Jerusalem, or Yerushalayim in Hebrew, is derived from the words yirah and shalom. We are all familiar with the word shalom—peace. But what of the first part of the name, arising from yirah?
By Roann Altman
From start to finish. From the moment we entered the lobby of the Illinois Beach Resort and Conference Center to the time we said our good-byes at noon on Sunday. The hugs, the smiles, the warmth of friendship. Everyone focused on bringing balance to our lives with sessions by our Kallah faculty—Micha Berger, Avi Fertig, Alan Morinis, Chaim Safren, Pam Wax, Efrat Zarren-Zohar and others—on holiness, awareness, silence, and equanimity.
SHARING MUSSAR WISDOM: Rabbis Darryl Crystal, Jill Maderer and Eric Gurvis (pictured, from left) presented a session on “Seeking Everyday Holiness” at the Union for Reform Judaism Biennial in Orlando, Florida, November 5.
Rabbis Chuck Feinberg and Amy Eilberg presented a session on “The Path of the Mensch: Jewish Wisdom for Everyday Living” at the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism Convention in Schaumburg, Illinois, on November 17.
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VIDEO BLOGS: Check out these new short video blogs by Rabbi Chaim Safren of the Calgary Kollel in Canada, and one of our esteemed TMI teachers, on the subject of The Mussar Mindset: Part I and Part II.
New 3-minute Mussar video blogs come out a few times each month and deal with everyday opportunities for Mussar practice. Very engaging and sometimes even fun!
SAVE THE DATES: The 2016 Practice Retreat dates are set: April 10-13 on the West Coast and June 5-8 on the East Coast.
The Practice Corner
How do we cultivate yirah? The awe-struck, tremulous feeling that opens our hearts to spiritual insight is actually available to us at every moment, if we make the effort. The Psalm (16:8) —“I place God before me always”—teaches us this lesson by requiring of us that we be active in seeking yirah. You must do something to “place” God before you. But what? To gain a yirah-inducing glimpse of the transcendent, you must sharpen your inner awareness to perceive divine Oneness wherever you look. You can practice shifting your inner vision to apprehend the scintillating divine presence in an apple, a table, a car, a baby’s eyes, anywhere in this world. When you make that choice and adjust your perception in this way, you have placed HaShem before you and yirah is sure to overtake your heart as if the floor beneath you had suddenly fallen away.
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