A Mussar Gem
The Midrash teaches (Bereishit Rabbah 11:6), “Everything that came into being during the six days of Creation requires improvement—for example, the mustard seed needs to be sweetened ... also people need rectification.” Our world is a world of transformation. When we are improving and refining ourselves, we are in concert with the Divine plan—fulfilling our purpose for existing in this world. Yet the question still remains: What is the goal? How far must we strive?
We read in Tanna D’Bei Eliyahu (25): “Therefore, I say that every member of the Jewish people is obligated to say, ‘When will my deeds reach the level of those of my forefathers, Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov?’” Every Jew has the potential, and responsibility, to reach a relative equivalency of the level of spirituality of the forefathers.
According to these passages, it is clear that the central purpose of the creation is to ascend to the level of the forefathers. Not only is the human being created for this purpose, but he is also given the ability and capacity to attain this supreme goal.
– Rabbi Yisrael Salanter (Ohr Yisroel, trans. Rabbi Zvi Miller, p. 38)
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:
- Jeffrey Agron
- Marsha Belford
- Fran Berman, in honor of Michele and Richard Jackman
- Peter Doerken and Candis Duke Doerken
- Joshua Ellis
- Terri Elston, dedicated to Jack Cole
- Charles Feinberg
- Sam and Adrianne Finnerman
- Sandra Garrett
- Steven Goldberg
- Rick Goldberg
- Judith Golden
- Laura Goldman
- Stephen Haas
- Robin Holzman
- Barry Horowitz, in honor of Rabbi Howard Shapiro
- David Jaffe, dedicated to Herman Jaffe
- Rhonda Kiff
- Bonnie Kozek
- Joann Lancin
- Amy Leider
- Bonnie Leopold
- Diane Litke
- Robert Mandel
- Nana Meyer, in memory of Rabbi Samuel Meyer
- Alan Morinis
- Nina Perlmutter
- Myra Peskowitz
- Evelyn Prince
- Miriam and Daniel Scharf
- Jerrold and Judy Schermer
- Sharon Schwartz
- Gary Shaffer
- Janet Shalwitz, in honor of Sharona Silverman
- Hilary Silver
- Patricia Smith, in honor of Debra Cohn
- Ruth Sohn
- Beatrice Steinberg
- Linda Trageser, in honor of Dena Forster
- Sherry and Daniel Weinberger
- Efrat Zarren-Zohar
Donations received as of Jan. 25.
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.
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Generosity Week Feb. 21–26
Generosity Week (February 21-26) involves five inspiring organizations whose services provide examples of ways to incorporate the practice of generosity in our lives through experiencing a direct connection with others within our communities. The organizations include Jewish Family Services, Hazon, Areyvuot—Mitzvah Clowning, Jewish Teen Funding and JEVS Human Services. Topics focus on generosity with resources—time and deeds, money, food, possessions, talents and skills, words and encouragement. Over the course of the week, participants will receive a daily video with a brief lesson including practice suggestions to help them build and strengthen their generosity muscles.
The Mussar Institute’s fifth annual
So what is it about generosity that makes it so vital to a happy, healthy life? Psychologists tell us that the form of generosity that most benefits us isn’t measured in dollar amounts or physical gain but rather the sensitivity we offer another person. When we directly see our personal efforts impact someone else, the more fulfillment we gain from the experience of giving. A direct connection between ourselves and others occurs, enhancing our relationships and creating a powerful synergy.
What can members and friends of The Mussar Institute community do to participate in and promote Generosity Week? First, visit our website and sign up to receive the daily email lessons and then be prepared to participate in the daily dialogue that will take place among the Generosity Week Facebook Group participants or at The Mussar Institute’s Facebook page or follow us on Twitter. Participants share their stories and experiences of spiritual growth through generosity to encourage others as they build and strengthen their generosity muscles over the course of the week.
Through a Mussar Lens: the Beauty of Tradition – by Alan Morinis
Generosity Week Feb. 21–26 – by Margo Martin
Hitlamdut and the Art of Dispute for the Sake of Heaven – by Amy Eilberg
Mussar Practice Retreats will Change How You See Mussar – by Marcia Plumb
The Value of Mussar – Excerpt from Marga & Henri Vogel’s article
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