An Independent Learning Course from Alan Morinis
Oasis in Time is a new course written and led (live) by Alan Morinis, Founder of The Mussar Institute. It is designed to help you connect your weekly Shabbat practices with the study of Mussar middot. The course will enhance and deepen your experience of both Shabbat and Mussar.
Alan intends this course for two sets of people: (1) those who may already be involved in Mussar any form of spiritual practice who wish to deepen their personal learning and growth by connecting it to a weekly Shabbat practice, and (2) those who already have a Shabbat practice and wish to enhance that practice by framing it within the perspective of cultivating middot. In his words,
“In my view, the religious framework provides a structure and a direction, while the spiritual provides the content and the spirit in which things are to be done. This is clearly the case in regard to Shabbat, where the Torah commands its observance, and the tradition identifies the spiritual contents with which we fulfill that command. From this perspective, what we do in enacting the religious structure is, for us, spiritual practice….
I have learned that doing things just because of spiritual inspiration doesn’t deliver lasting development. And doing things in obedience to a checklist is equally stunting. But when the two come together, the religious structure provides an aspirational scaffolding, and the spiritual awareness provides the tools for climbing.”
Rabbi Yisrael Salanter (1810-1883), who initiated the Mussar movement in 19th century Lithuania, wrote:
Our world is a world of transformation. When we are improving and refining ourselves, we are in concert with the divine plan – fulfilling our purpose for existing in this world … Not only is the human being createdfor this purpose, but he is also given the ability and the capacity to attain this supreme goal.
Applying this notion to the subject of this course, our operating principle is that through observing Shabbat, a person can become more whole and more holy. And that person could be you.