Simcha _ Joy! hero

Delivery Style

Live Va'ad in English

Recorded Va'ad Sessions



$118 Chaverim

$180 non-Chaverim.

Start Date



Open to all


Some fifty years ago a seminar was organized in Bnei Brak, Israel, for the mashgichim (spiritual advisors) of various yeshivot to meet with the leading Roshei Yeshiva of the time, chief among them, Rabbi Elazar Schach (1899-2001), the late Rosh Yeshiva of the Ponovezh Yeshiva, one of the largest Torah institutions in the world. They gathered to hear words of inspiration as well as to gain insight into what issues should be foremost in their guidance of the students of that time.

Rabbi Schach explained that in the pre-war Europe of his youth, students were seeking wisdom. Today, he said, they are seeking simcha /  joy.

The words of the Rosh Yeshiva ring true. Is there anyone among us who wouldn’t have joy at the top of the list of what we are seeking in life?

We sense that Simcha / joy is essential because it brings vitality, enthusiasm, and accomplishment. But even more essentially (and perhaps surprisingly!) it is the catalyst for true and lasting change. Rabbi Yisrael Salanter [1] defines for us three levels of change:

There are three levels of Divine service. The first, the gateway and the starting point, is sensitivity. [This is engendered] by studying the words of the rabbis and Mussar teachings, reviewing them over and over again until you achieve hitpa’alut [2] and feel a lacking in your soul. [3] You then move to the second level, the conquering of the yetzer ha’ra.[4] The third level is the rectification of the yetzer ha’ra [5] when one is joyous and ecstatic in Divine service.

The highest levels that we can reach, where our negative middot lose their power to control our behavior, is not simply reflected by how much joy we have, but, Rav Shlomo Wolbe [6] tells us based on Rav Yisrael’s teachings, it is achieved through joy as well. Joy, when we are connected to our spiritual essence, has the unique power to transform our innermost selves. The more joy we experience, the more this joy transforms our physical nature to the point where it, too, is happy to live in the realm of the spiritual. In the words of Rav Wolbe: “The starting point and the end of our spiritual journey is joy!”

[1] Ohr Yisrael letter 30.
[2]  I.e. You are affected on an emotional level. Hitpa’alut is a basic concept in the writings of Rav Yisrael.
[3]  Earlier Rav Yisrael describes this level as the sensitivity to one’s flaws.
[4] In Hebrew, kevishat haYetzer, where one’s negative middah is still there but you overcome it.
[5] In Hebrew, tikkun haYetzer.
[6] Alei Shur volume 1, page 205, volume 2, page 333, as well as numerous other places.

Rav Dovid Nussbaum is currently mashgiach ruchani (spiritual advisor) at Yeshivas Torah Ore Israeli division in Jerusalem, a position he has held for the past twenty-five years. Born in the United States, and a native English speaker, Rav Nussbaum came to study in 1978 at the renowned Mussar Yeshiva at Beer Yaakov, Israel, under the guidance of Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe zt’l, the leading Mussar personality of our generation. He has lived in Israel ever since. Rav Nussbaum remained a close student of Rav Wolbe until his passing in 2005.

For the past ten years, Rav Nussbaum has delivered a weekly va'ad in Rav Wolbe’s Beit HaMussar (Study Hall dedicated to Mussar study) in Jerusalem. Now, we are able to make this experience available exclusively to our Mussar students. Rav Nussbaum will speak to us in English.


You Will

  • Experience guidance for personal practice from one of today’s most respected Mussar personalities.
  • Hear a relevant Mussar perspective on timely topics and themes.
  • Be invited (virtually) twice each month into R’ Nussbaum’s home in Jerusalem to experience live, one-hour teachings.
  • Gain the unique opportunity to learn and practice authentic Mussar taught and studied in today’s Yeshivot.


Level: Intermediate

Open to: All

Sessions: Six, one-hour meetings

Meeting: Sundays,  4 p.m. ET

Begininning: 4/11, 4/25, 5/9, 5/23, 6/6, 6/20

Tuition: $118 Chaverim, $180 non-Chaverim

Each session will be recorded for those who cannot attend live. During each session, R' Nussbaum will assign daily practices. There will be no chevruta learning, text, or other additional readings between sessions.


“Very inspiring, both his teaching/guidance and ‘watching him tie his shoes.’”


“His practical advice and chanting exercises were so meaningful and moving.”

“A teacher with a twinkle in his eye and gave me something to hold onto and take home... Where there is a will, there is a way...easy and brilliant.”

“His teaching on our will and how to connect with it was the most emotionally impactful of all our teachings. A great experience of chanting individually in a group.”