My wife tells me that it does not look good for a Mussar teacher to be overweight. Mastering human desires is one of the core challenges of spiritual life, and that mastery, or lack thereof, reveals itself for all to see around a waistline. And so I have taken on the challenge to lose 12 pounds by Rosh Hashanah.
When I mentioned that plan to a friend, he asked, “Rosh Hashanah of which year?” This year. I have three months to lose 12 pounds.
A Place and Time for Practicing Simplicity
Have you heard anyone say lately that they have too much free time on their hands? Even those who are retired seem to be extraordinarily busy, often with just the mundane tasks of everyday life. How did they ever get things done when they were working? Everyone seems stressed, always running somewhere, trying to get as much done in as little time as possible. Was life like this 30 years ago? 50 years ago? 150 years ago?
ISRAEL TRIP: Join The Mussar Institute for 10 days and experience Israel through a Mussar lens. The tour, led by Alan Morinis and Avi Fertig, will take place Feb. 19 to March 1, 2017. For more information or to register, click here.
KALLAH XIV: Registration is open for the Mussar Kallah, held December 1 to 4 at Capital Camps Retreat Center in Waynesboro, PA. For more information or to register, click here.
MUSSAR VIDEO BLOGS: TMI faculty member Chaim Safren delivers short weekly Mussar lessons on his video blog. Check out this recent talk entitled “Holy Soul, But So Annoying.”
The Practice Corner
Our current middah [soul-trait] of histapkut involves focusing on what is truly important and not being distracted into giving much obeisance to what is extraneous. We can practice this trait in our eating, as Rabbi Menachem Mendel Leffin suggests in his book Cheshbon HaNefesh: Before taking food into your mouth, consider what benefit this food has for your personal health or the fulfillment of a precept. If you can see the benefit in either of these ways, keep eating. And if not, your exercise is to stop yourself from putting that unnecessary, unsanctified food into your body.
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