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footprints in the sand

You can Change! Focusing on Free Will

Week 3, Lesson 14: September 11 / Elul 20

Rabbi Yisrael Salanter

One should not say: that which God has created is unchangeable, nor should one say that if God has planted within me bad character, how can I hope to uproot it? That is not so. The character traits of a person can be conquered and even changed. We find that animals can be tamed, their nature changed and their evil roots uprooted. So, too, mankind has the strength to conquer their evil nature and even change it to good through study and habit. [Birurei HaMiddot]

Have you had experience of “conquering your evil nature?" Which tools for change have you found to be most effective?

Your practice for this week is to form and articulate kavvanot for yourself, and to direct your words and deeds in line with those conscious intentions. Continue with your intention for the week to exercise your free will in a situation that challenges you. See the details of your weekly practice by clicking here.

Click here to access an archive of our Elul material. Click this link to access this week's video.

If you would like to sponsor a day or week in Elul in memory or honor of somebody, please contact Steven Kraus: steven@mussarinstitute.org

Today’s learning is sponsored by Miriam Goodman, in honor of her great grandmother, Anna Mark Boardman, who exemplified the trait of gevurah, strength, and her grandfather, Raphael Boardman, a man of great chesed, lovingkindness.

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