Yashar
JUDGMENT / SHIFUT
SEPTEMBER 2016

A Mussar Gem

We often judge other people because we do not recognize our connection to them. Many Jewish sources, starting with the Torah, point out to us that when we are in relationship with someone, we are not separate from that person but joined to them. This idea is expressed beautifully by Rabbi Shimon Shkop.

The entire “I” of a coarse and lowly person is restricted only to his substance and body. Above that one is someone who feels that his “I” is a synthesis of body and soul. And above that one is someone who can include in his “ani” all of his household and family. Someone who walks according to the way of the Torah, that one’s “I” includes the whole Jewish people, since in truth every Jewish person is only like a limb of the body of the nation of Israel.

And there are more levels in this of a person who is whole, who can connect his soul to feel that all of the world and worlds are his “ani,” and he himself is only one small limb in all of creation. Then, his self-love helps him love all of the Jewish people and [even] all of creation.

Rabbi Shimon Shkop was born in 1860 in Lithuania, where he died in 1939. He was the Rosh Yeshiva in the Telz and Grodno yeshivas. The quote is from the “Introduction” to his book, Sha’arei Yosher.

 


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For further information on The Mussar Institute, visit www.MussarInstitute.org
Email address: info@mussarinstitute.org
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Through a Mussar Lens: Aspire to Move Beyond Judgment

Two Judgment Days are coming. The first is Rosh Hashana. The second is the American presidential election. The two are linked, particularly for those who (unlike me) get to vote in the election, or even those who might talk or write about the candidates.

The connection is clear because our words and deeds are among the principal things for which we are judged on Rosh Hashana. But not just our words and deeds. Rambam (Maimonides) addresses this point directly in his discussion of teshuva, the process of repentance and return to righteous ways that is the fundamental practice of the coming religious season.

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Judge Favorably / L’chaf Zechut  

child having a tantrum“Do not judge your fellow until you are in his place.”

The Talmud teaches, “Judge everyone favorably ... .” In other words, when we observe behavior that appears objectionable, we are to pause and contemplate the possibility that there may be circumstances of which we are unaware. If we judge based solely on what we see, we may draw the wrong conclusion. Unless we are privy to personal information, we should assume that others’ actions are appropriate and possibly even good. Our obligation is to give others the benefit of the doubt by judging them favorably.

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Favorable Judgment as a Strategy in Working for Social Justice

Civil rights march“Judge every person favorably.” 
 – Pirkei Avot 1:6 

“Seek the good in everyone, and reveal it, bring it forth.”
 – Rabbi Nachman of Breslov

While these injunctions may have been uttered with the goal of providing guidance to individuals, they can form the basis of an excellent strategy in social justice work as well.

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Judging with Compassion

judge's gavelIn the secular calendar, the holidays are “late” this year. In the calendar of the soul, it always feels as if the Days of Awe are coming surprisingly quickly. This year, with the month of September, we enter the month of Elul, the month of more intensified preparation leading up to Rosh HaShanah, also known as Yom HaDin, the Day of Judgment.

Read more arrow


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Greg Marcus of San Francisco, along with his wife Rachel Kindt, visit with Mirjam van Blankenstein and Henri and Marga Vogel in Amsterdam. Greg had met the group when they all trained together to become facilitators in TMI's Manchim program.

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The Practice Corner

child confronting large manta ray in aquariumWhenever you look at another person, make an effort to see beyond the flawed, incomplete, earthy creature to perceive the radiant soul that is standing before your eyes. Recognizing that your essence is also a radiant soul, visualize the two bright lights shining as one, as two flames brought together become one flame. This perception does not come naturally; you must make an effort to remind yourself to perceive this spiritual reality, until this perspective takes root in your heart.


Newsletter Home

Through a Mussar Lens: Aspire to Move Beyond Judgment – by Alan Morinis

Judge Favorably – by Michelle Princenthal

Favorable Judgment as a Strategy in Working for Social Justice – by Barbara Grosh

Judging with Compassion – by Judith Golden


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Copyright 2016 © The Mussar Institute

A Mussar Gem

We often judge other people because we do not recognize our connection to them. Many Jewish sources, starting with the Torah, point out to us that when we are in relationship with someone, we are not separate from that person but joined to them. This idea is expressed beautifully by Rabbi Shimon Shkop.

The entire “I” of a coarse and lowly person is restricted only to his substance and body. Above that one is someone who feels that his “I” is a synthesis of body and soul. And above that one is someone who can include in his “ani” all of his household and family. Someone who walks according to the way of the Torah, that one’s “I” includes the whole Jewish people, since in truth every Jewish person is only like a limb of the body of the nation of Israel.

And there are more levels in this of a person who is whole, who can connect his soul to feel that all of the world and worlds are his “ani,” and he himself is only one small limb in all of creation. Then, his self-love helps him love all of the Jewish people and [even] all of creation.

Rabbi Shimon Shkop was born in 1860 in Lithuania, where he died in 1939. He was the Rosh Yeshiva in the Telz and Grodno yeshivas. The quote is from the “Introduction” to his book, Sha’arei Yosher.

 


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FOLLOW US ON:

Forward to a friend

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Donations

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 and members:

Membership

TMI Membership for 2016–2017 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