It is poignant for me that this is the last column I will write as Dean of The Mussar Institute. TMI was incorporated in 2004 and had been active for two years before that. Throughout these 16 years I have been involved in leadership, and the time has come to pass the baton to others, most notably Avi Fertig, who has been my companion and partner in his role as Associate Dean, and to Steven Kraus, our stalwart Executive Director, and to Pam Rollins, incoming President of the Board. If you know these people and the many others who now have a hand in flying the banner of TMI, you will understand why it is possible for me to take a step back at this time. I have full confidence that The Mussar Institute and our work of propagating and supporting the study and practice of this transformative Jewish discipline is in very good hands.
I won’t be leaving TMI. As of July 1 I will move to a half-time position, my title will change to “Founder,” and I will be focally engaged in studying, translating, writing and teaching. What I am primarily giving up is the ever-increasing volume of work required by our courses and programs.
Do you know why you are here? Do you know what your purpose in life is? Who or what guides what you do? What does being created in the image of God entail? How do you know if you are being successful?
Save the dates! Mussar Kallah XVI — Thursday, November 29, 5 PM through Sunday, December 2, noon.
Please join us for this year’s exciting Kallah to answer these questions and more on our way to uncovering our holy souls. Kallah XVI will be very special as we honor our leader, Dr. Alan Morinis, for all that he has done to bring the world of Mussar to us in a way that speaks to us in our personal and professional lives.
It brings me great joy to introduce this new version of our program, which we have revamped based on years of valuable feedback from our subscribers. Middah a Month will continue to provide materials to support you to study and practice one middah each month. But now, you can choose which middot you will work with and the order in which you will receive them.
HONORING ALAN:The Mussar Institute is celebrating its Bar/Bat Mitzvah year! This is a special moment to remember where we have been and to imagine where we are going. Thank you for joining us on this journey. It is impossible to visualize our future without first recognizing the momentous efforts by our Founder and Dean, Alan Morinis. We have launched the Honoring Alan Campaign to thank Alan for all of his efforts to bring Mussar into the lives of thousands around the world. Thanks to all those who have already contributed. Please add your name to the list. Continue reading and make a donation: click here.
KALLAH XVI ANNOUNCED: The Mussar Institute will hold its annual Kallah in Scottsdale, Arizona, from Thursday, Nov. 29 to Sunday, Dec. 2. Kallah XVI will take place at the Embassy Suites by Hilton and will feature a special honor for Alan Morinis. Registration information will be released in June. For more on the Kallah, click here.
WEBINAR SERIES: The Mussar Institute’s 2018 webinar series, “Calming the Storm: Mussar Practices for the Heart and Soul in Troubling Times,” continues on June 10 at 8 PM Eastern with David Jaffe leading “Finding Your Agency in Stormy Times through Cheshbon HaNefesh (Soul Accounting) Journaling.” You can register here. The first four webinars have been recorded, so you can watch them all.
SPECIAL EBOOK PROMOTION: A special ebook pricing promotion on Everyday Holiness will be available from June 1 to June 30. The ebook edition will be available on Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and iBooks for $2.99. This price applies only to the US and Canada. Click here.
VIDEO BLOG: Are you a proper receptacle to accept truth into your life? Watch Chaim Safren’s short Mussar video, “Open Up,” to learn more.
The Practice Corner
Identify one middah in which you feel you have the greatest strength, and one in which you feel you have the most work to do. Do a self-assessment in writing if that aids in the search.
To identify your strong middot, look at how things have gone for you in your work life, past and present, and at your accomplishments in school and in your personal life. What did you enjoy most? What were you best at? What middot contributed to the successes you have had?
Then turn the spotlight on the things that you have stumbled over, that have impeded your success and accomplishments. Again, the focus is on your personal middot and how they contributed to the way things have gone for you in life, not on external circumstances or a narrative of causes and effects. We might call these “weaker middot,” keeping in mind that it can be as much a “weakness” to have too much of a middah (like anger or envy) as it is to have an actual deficiency in a middah.
Make notes about how you can bring your strength to bear on cultivating the weaker middah. Select a phrase for morning recitation. Pick a daily practice that uses the strong middah to help the weaker one. Write daily in your journal on the experience. Repeat the process when you are ready to take on another weaker middah.
Help us keep our records updated.
Please notify us when you have a change of address, phone number and especially a new email.
Copyright 2018 © The Mussar Institute