This issue of Yashar is dedicated in loving memory of Maxine Simon Unger, mother of Judith Golden.
Almost 800 years ago, a Jewish sage living in Rome published a book called Sefer Ma'alot Ha’middot (Book of the Choicest Virtues). This work contains Rabbi Yechiel ben Yekutiel’s 13th century insight into 24 inner traits, including the positive and negative possibilities inherent in each.
His is one of several books of its kind in the Mussar library in which the entire purpose of the book is to explore the positive and negative aspect of every human emotional and intellectual quality—the grain and the husk of every trait, as another of these books (Orchot Tzaddikim) puts it. Each chapter listed in the table of contents of these books delves into another familiar human experience, revealing the deep commitment our ancestors had to understanding the inner life.
Leading With Jewish Values: A Taste of Mussar (live webinar)
The best way to help people fulfill their highest potential as leaders, and thereby make their greatest positive contribution to the synagogue, is to guide them in developing the ideal values and traits that will enhance the running and improve the performance of the organization. In the Jewish non-profit world, a strong argument can be made for focusing the development of values and the improvement of character traits on the ideals that are intrinsic to the Jewish tradition. To put it another way, Jewish organizations will run most effectively and volunteer leaders of those Jewish organizations will make their best contribution, when the volunteers and the organizations embody shared Jewish values. The 1,100 year-old Mussar tradition is a treasure house of just such teachings.
Join Dr. Alan Morinis, Founder and Dean of The Mussar Institute, for “A Taste of Mussar”—a webinar illustrating how the study and practice of Mussar and a focus on certain middot can enable you and other leaders to bring Jewish spiritual values to the core of the congregation—its leaders.
Webinar: Tuesday, April 19, 12:00 noon – 1:00 p.m. EDT
SAVE THE DATE: Kallah XIV will be held this year from Thursday, December 1 to Sunday, December 4 at the Capital Retreat Center outside the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. area. The theme will be Compassionate Living: the Exquisite Sensitivity to Others. Registration will open in June.
BAY AREA EVENT: Dr. Alan Morinis will be among the presenters for “An Afternoon of Mussar” in Lafayette, CA, on April 10 from 1 to 5 p.m. There will be a separate track for students in grades 6 through 8 at no charge. For more information, please click here.
MAY EVENTS: One-day TMI events are coming to the Rochester, NY, area on May 15 and to Los Angeles on May 22.
PRACTICE RETREATS: The 2016 West Cost Practice Retreat will be April 10-13, and the East Coast retreat June 5-8. You can register for either Practice Retreat here.
MUSSAR VIDEO BLOGS: TMI faculty member Chaim Safren delivers short weekly Mussar lessons on his video blog. Check out this discussion on personal consistency: “Always Right.”
How can we transform Anger into Willingness? We can do that with inspiration from the Torah, such as:
- “Righteousness, righteousness shall you pursue, so that you will live and possess the land that Hashem your God gives you” (Deuteronomy 16:20);
- “Speak to the children of Israel and let them take for Me a portion, from every man whose heart motivates him you should take My portion” (Exodus 25:2).
The Practice Corner
- Willingness to take action depends on intentionality. Before you make a major decision, take time to clarify your intentions.
- Willingness to accept relies on having “an obliging mind and a soft heart.” When the outcome happens, make your intention to recognize that your will won’t always prevail.
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