Yashar
ACQUIRING TORAH
JUNE 2016

A Mussar Gem

“The Sages have told us in no uncertain terms that the only way to achieve the sparks of the soul’s light is through intensive study of our holy Torah, for both of these derive from the same source, as is known to the wise.”
– Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin (Nefesh Ha’Chaim 1:16)


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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:

  • Sammy Alzofon
  • Jeffrey and Cairn Aran
  • Sam Axelrad
  • Gerald Berman
  • Ken Birenbaum
  • Maureen Bismark, in honor of Rabbi Kalonymus Shapira
  • Karen Cheniae
  • Rick and Tina Dinitz
  • Judith Edelstein, in honor of Jeff Agron
  • Samuel and Adriaan Finnerman
  • Sandra Garrett
  • Jack and Lisa Gildar
  • Caryl Goodman
  • Sandy Greenstein
  • Rabbi Eric Gurvis
  • Eric and Susanna Henley
  • Caroline Isaacs
  • Michele and Richard Jackman, in honor of the LA Mini Kallah, and Alan Morinis and Rivy Kletenik
  • Steven Kraus, in honor of the marriage of Aviva and Avi Feingold
  • Baruch Lazewnik
  • Diane Litke
  • Gerald and M.J. Lopitan
  • Rob Mass, Goldman Sachs Gives
  • Lisa and Jack Miller
  • Linda Nelson
  • Myra Peskowitz, in memory of Rachel and Yitzhak Fisher
  • Margaret Robbins
  • Irv Robinson
  • Chanin Rosen
  • Cheryl Sachnoff, in memory of Maxine Unger, mother of Judith Golden
  • Jerrold and Judy Schermer
  • Gary Shaffer
  • Phillipa Shepherd, in honor of Alan Morinis
  • Patricia Smith, with gratitude for the West Coast Practice Retreat
  • Jay TelRav
  • Linda Trageser, in honor of Dena Forster’s va’ad
  • Lara Vatalaro
  • Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz
  • Judith Zaruches

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

Through a Mussar Lens: More Than Studying Torah, Acquiring It

Rabbi Itzele Peterburger (1837–1907) was one of Rabbi Yisroel Salanter’s closest disciples and collaborators. There is a famous story about a visit R’ Itzele paid to the Volozhin Yeshiva, where he argued for the importance of Mussar. Rav Chaim Soloveitchik, the head of that yeshiva, replied that the study of Mussar is like castor oil: only sick people need it and if you don’t need it, it will make you sick. Healthy people do not need any practice other than learning Torah.

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Viewing Others as Holy

A couple of weeks ago, I chanted a few verses from Parashat Kedoshim at our Shabbat Minyan. The parashah starts with, “You shall be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy” (Leviticus 19:2). God wants us to become b’tzelem Elohim, in the image of God, by becoming holy. It then goes on with a long and disparate list of civil and ritual laws that define holiness, some of which are also included in the Ten Commandments. Why the repetition, and why the many details?

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Kallah XIV: Internalizing Torah

Kallah XIV

December 1-4
Capital Retreat Center outside the Baltimore/ Washington, D.C. area

Register

As the story goes, a visitor went to see Rav Mandel of Kotzk, his first trip to a Chassidic rebbe. The Kotzker Rebbe asked him, “So what have you done all your life?” He answered, “I have gone through the entire Talmud three times.” “That truly is something,” the Rebbe replied, “but more important than how many times you have gone through the Talmud is the number of times the Talmud has gone through you!”

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Bulletin Board

MANCHIM GRADUATES: Congratulations to the latest class of new TMI facilitators who have completed training in the Manchim program. They are Sandy Greenstein, Marcy Howard, Barbara Grosh, Philip Einsohn, Marga Vogel, Henri Vogel, Mirjam van Blankenstein, Greg Marcus, and Marian Bell.

CHEVRUTA NEEDED: The Everyday Holiness and other courses require additional people willing to serve as chevruta to current students. If you are interested, please contact Kalinka Moudrova-Rothman at chevrutamatching@mussarinstitute.org.

WELZOO: Raise funds for The Mussar Institute without spending any money! All you need to do is make welzoo.com your start page. Since it’s a simple setting in your browser (Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer), changing it is easy and there is no cost to you or to TMI. Once welzoo.com is your start page, go on the Internet as you normally would. Just for landing on Welzoo (automatic since it’s your start page), they donate up to 6 cents every day to TMI. Click on this link to begin: http://www.welzoo.com/join/mussar-institut/0Vl7f24/XaR2fGc

AMAZON SMILE: Bookmark this link to help The Mussar Institute. Each time you do eligible shopping through AmazonSmile: http://smile.amazon.com/ch/20-2095736, Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchase price to TMI. 

MUSSAR VIDEO BLOGS: TMI faculty member Chaim Safren delivers short weekly Mussar lessons on his video blog. Check out his discussions here.


The Practice Corner

studying hebrew textOur practice is Torah study, and the Mussar approach is, simply enough, to study Torah.

The second of the dual Torah portions Behar-Bechukotai begins with the words, “Im bechukotai telechu.” All Torah study begins with questions, and here are some that arise from these three words that you can investigate:

  • Im” means “if.” “If” reminds us that we have free will. We can choose how to act. What are the implications of our free will that the Torah later outlines in this parsha?
  • Bechukotai” means “in my statutes,” but it is not as simple as referring to laws, because there is a distinction in Hebrew between a simple statute (mishpat) and a chok. Research the difference. Then consider how the fact that the verse refers to chukim ties into the issue of free will.
  • Telechu” means “you will go,” and so the whole phrase translates as, “If you will go in my chukim.” Why “going in”? Why not “obey” or “not breach”? What do you learn from the reference to “going” in this context?

Take a few moments, answer the questions, and you will give yourself a gift of learning that will take root surprisingly deeply in your heart.


Newsletter Home

Through a Mussar Lens: More Than Studying Torah, Acquiring It – by Alan Morinis

Viewing Others as Holy – by Rose Ashford

Kallah XIV: Internalizing Torah – by Micha Berger


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Copyright 2016 © The Mussar Institute

A Mussar Gem

“The Sages have told us in no uncertain terms that the only way to achieve the sparks of the soul’s light is through intensive study of our holy Torah, for both of these derive from the same source, as is known to the wise.”
– Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin (Nefesh Ha’Chaim 1:16)


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