I visited Israel in February with a group of Mussar-niks, and high on our agenda was a trip to the tiny synagogue in Akko founded in the 18th century by the Mussar luminary, Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto. It was spine-tingling to have a class and discuss his work in the very place where he had prayed and taught, and that visit remains a highlight (among so many!) from that spectacular trip.
When a child first comes to this world, we rush in with Compassion, Rachamim—
Sometimes justice is the greater kindness.
When signing up for The Mussar Institute’s Israel trip, I knew that it might be hard to be away from my husband and our 13-year-old twins. But I also knew that this trip presented a rare opportunity for me: to study with Mussar people, many of whom I had met at Practice Retreats and the Kallah, to room with my friend and chevruta, and to spend time with and learn from Alan Morinis and Avi Fertig, as well as other well-respected and beloved teachers. I had been to Israel once before, just last summer, and the idea of returning to Israel for the sightseeing, food, shopping, and culture was also appealing.
Although those aspects of the trip were enjoyable, it was the interactions that had a bigger positive impact on me.
NEW YORK EVENT: JCC Manhattan will host Changing the World from the Inside Out: A Mussar Approach to Personal and Social Change on Sunday, May 7, from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Presenters include David Jaffe, Chasya Uriel Steinbauer and Gary Shaffer. Learn more.
REGISTER NOW: Some spots are still available for the 2017 Practice Retreat, which will be held from May 21 to 24, 2017, in St. Louis, Missouri. Learn more and register.
SAVE THE DATE – Fall Retreat: Mussar Kallah XV will return to the Capital Retreat Center, outside the Baltimore/Washington, D.C., area from November 30 to December 3, 2017. Topic: Holiness of Engagement.
VIDEO BLOG: Chaim Safren delivers short Mussar video messages several times each month. Check out this lesson on “Doing Well.”
PIRKEI AVOT WEBINARS: TMI’s series of six free webinars on Pirkei Avot began with Micha Berger’s discussion of Chapter 1, followed by Chapter 2 with Meredith Cahn, Chapter 3 with Rivy Kletenik, and Chapter 4 with Yaakov Feldman. Click on the links to watch any you may have missed. Register now for Webinar 5 with Chaim Safren, Sunday, May 7 at 8pm eastern. Coming up: Chapter 6 with Lisa Bock on June 4 at 12 p.m. Eastern.
NEW MUSSAR BOOK: Mind Over Man: The Climb to Greatness, a book based on the Mussar va’adim of Alan Morinis’s teacher, Yechiel Yitzchok Perr, is available for purchase from the Yeshiva of Far Rockaway, N.Y.
MUSSAR KALLAH EUROPE: A Mussar Summer Academy featuring esteemed speakers set in the rich Jewish history of Amsterdam will be held June 22–23. Study will include workshops on Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, who lived in Amsterdam from 1735–1743. For more information or to register, click here.
The Practice Corner
The Hebrew word for justice is tzedek and for charity is tzedakah. This shared root reveals that the essence of charity, in the Jewish view, is that it is not acting out of benevolence but justice. Cultivating this trait would mean then to give generously to others with the mental intention that it is not out of pity but a matter of justice to support those in need.
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