straight • upright • righteous

newsletter of  The Mussar Institute


January 2013



“An unceasing inner gaze toward one’s responsibility leads to remembrance, remembrance leads to concern, concern leads to confidence, confidence leads to strength and strength leads to serenity and wholeness, internally and externally, in thought and in deed.”   
–  Rabbi Avraham Elya Kaplan

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Alan MorinisThrough a Mussar Lens: The Masters Teach Us Responsibility Through Their Actions

By Alan Morinis

Rabbi Alter Henoch Leibowitz (1918–2008) was the late Rosh Yeshiva of the Chofetz Chaim Yeshiva in Queens, N.Y., which his father had started in 1933. His father, R’ Dovid, had been a student of the Alter of Slabodka at his Mussar yeshiva in Lithuania. Then, in 1941, when the younger Rabbi Leibowitz was still only in his early 20s, the untimely death of his father thrust him into the role of leading the yeshiva.
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WelcomeJason Winston

Each month when I receive Alan Morinis’s Through a Mussar Lens column, I try to read it right away. In this month’s column, Alan relates several stories that show how our Mussar masters practiced the middah of responsibility, and one tells of a great rabbi who washed the dishes and took on domestic responsibility as spiritual practice.
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Shirah BellWorld of Mussar: Seattle, WA

I moved up to Seattle from the San Francisco Bay Area five years ago. I had been working with The Mussar Institute since the beginning, facilitating TMI courses, developing programs with Alan, and studying a lot. But I felt frustrated at the small impact I was having on the community, with Mussar study particularly lacking at my shul. I wanted everyone to study Mussar and wasn’t even coming close.
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My Mussar JourneyRick Dinitz

Every day brings tests that can teach us how to grow. Sometimes it takes a bigger test to show us how far we have already come in our Mussar journeys. For me, one of those larger tests arrived with a bicycle crash. A punctured lung and fractured ribs kept me in the ER for an entire day, and then homebound for eight weeks. It was an extended exercise in patience, trust, responsibility and, perhaps surprisingly, gratitude. Patience waiting for help to arrive. Patience bearing pain. Patience with the slow pace of healing. Trust that Hashem would heal me. Trust that I would learn something of value from the experience. Responsibility to do everything I could to promote healing—following doctors’ instructions, and heeding my body’s warning signals. A parade of visitors asked about the crash, and the prognosis.
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compact discsJanuary Special

Whether or not you were able to join us for Mussar Kallah X, you can still own the CD recordings of the sessions led by our illustrious guest teachers.

For January, individual sessions will cost $10 each (down from $13), and the complete set of Kallah X recordings will be available for $63 for all seven sessions, an additional 10% off.

To purchase recordings from past Kallot, please visit the TMI audio page.


The Practice Corner

There is no way to cultivate responsibility except to act in responsible ways, and the best place to do that is with the people who are closest to you. Every day, consciously undertake two actions with the intention of helping people in the inner circle of your life carry a burden that they bear. Not only will that help them, but that is how you cause the trait of responsibility to flourish in your heart—an essential ingredient in the “wholeness” that is the goal of Mussar study and practice.


Newsletter Home
Through a Mussar Lens: The Masters Teach Us Responsibility Through Their Actions – by Alan Morinis
Welcome – by Jason Winston
World of Mussar: Seattle, WA – by Shirah Bell
My Mussar Journey – by
The Practice Corner

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