This issue of Yashar is dedicated in memory of Ellen Farber Zarren, mother of Efrat Zarren-Zohar.
In a recent cartoon in the New Yorker, the always very funny Roz Chast outdid herself with a retelling of the story of Genesis. It begins, “On the first day, God created nothing, because there was plenty of time.” By day three, God created a list. On the fourth day, He was not in the right mood. At the very last moment, on day six, “God created the whole shebang.”
A main practice on the Mussar path is to “walk in God’s ways,” which means emulating the ideals we see in God. What’s funny about this cartoon is that we see God walking in our ways. There is no evidence in the Torah that God procrastinated, but as for us, the signs are many. And so are the consequences.
Congratulations to those of you who have already registered for The Mussar Institute’s upcoming Kallah—well in advance of the September 12 early-bird deadline. You obviously have some strength in this month’s middah of zerizut.
I imagine that others of you have noted the dates (Nov. 13 – 16) on your calendar but have not yet followed through to register, make hotel reservations, or perhaps even book your flight. That’s the second key component of zerizut—following through on the tasks to be done.
Over a long weekend in early May, over 60 Mussar students and teachers gathered at the Brandeis Bardin Campus of the American Jewish University in Simi Valley, Calif., to explore the practice aspects of Mussar at the first Mussar Practice Retreat.
We came from all over the country. Some of us had been involved with Mussar for many years; others were newbies.
Inquiring Hearts and Minds Wanted
Yashar will feature a new column starting in October. We invite you to send any questions you have about Mussar ideas, practice, texts, personalities, middot or a challenge that confronts you in your life. We’ll invite a Mussar teacher (or two) to respond, and the question and answers will be published for the benefit of all.
Your letter may remain anonymous, of course. Email your question or issue or thought to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do the rest.
TMI Bulletin Board
CHEVRUTOT WANTED: We need volunteers to be chevrutot for incoming Everyday Holiness students. The commitment is usually a one-hour phone call, every few weeks, over a six-month period.
Interested? Email Shelley Karrel, Course Coordinator at email@example.com. We like students who have at least completed Everyday Holiness and preferably either Path of the Soul or Mussar in Action. We try to match chevrutot with students in the same time zone to make connecting easier.
WEBINAR: Alan Morinis will be conducting a webinar on Sept. 9 at 8 p.m. Eastern for the Project Sinai Elul series. Register.
SOMETHING TO ANNOUNCE? If you have an upcoming Mussar event, publication or other note, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org for possible publication in an upcoming issue. Please send items no later than Sept. 5 for inclusion in October’s newsletter.
In his column in this month’s Yashar, Alan Morinis shows how growing in zerizut (enthusiasm; alacrity) begins by cultivating generosity toward others (which makes you beloved, setting off a series of steps that lead to zerizut).
With that teaching in mind, consider who might love you more if you were generous to that person, and then go ahead and do something generous for them, whether with money, time, possessions, emotions or any other way they will appreciate.
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