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THE CHANGE THAT ELUL BRINGS
There’s something about summer that I love. It’s not just the warm evenings and sunny days. It goes deeper than that, back to my days as a kid who relished summer vacation and a sense that I was no longer responsible for school projects and homework. As I grow older and become more fluent in the vocabulary of Mussar, I wonder if that feeling I still get, that feeling that says I can relax more than the rest of the year, isn’t conspiring with the voice of my yetzer hara, who tells me I don’t have to be held accountable and that my actions don’t have any real consequences.
The Mussar Institute’s ninth annual Kallah Retreat, in just over two months, promises to be the most ambitious one we have ever programmed. The theme may be long, but it says it all: “Helping your friend as a spiritual practice – The Mussar pathway to inner wholeness thorugh service.” If you come, and I hope you will, you’ll discover that the institute is offering a truly expanded and enriched program this fall. You will leave with comprehensive tools that will guide you in the Mussar ways of cultivating the soul in the context of community, inwardly and outwardly.
The Rambam gives sharp call to what the calendar whispers when it tells us that Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are around the corner. Are you aware that we are now in the month of Elul? How will you use this precious time to prepare for the cleansing that is available to you in the ten days of teshuvah [repentance; return; course-correction] that are fast approaching?
MUSSAR KALLAH IX
MANCHIM: TRAINING FOR MUSSAR GROUP LEADERS
TORAH THE MIDDAH WAY
The Torah portion each week prominently features one or more middot (or soul traits). If you have suggestions or, better yet, if you have written a drash that relates the Torah portion to a middah, please send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will build a database and make it available so that members of the community can have access to resources to study Torah in a middah way.
LISTEN TO ALAN'S TALK ON STRENGTH, GEVURAH
The middah [soul-trait] of gevurah is central to a life of wholeness, but what is strength? And how do we grow stronger?
In Hebrew, a person who possesses gevurah is a gibor, which is the modern Hebrew word for “hero.” In Pirkei Avot (4:1), the question is asked, “Who is a strong person?” The answer to that question, along with other important insights and practices, were the focus of a session that Alan Morinis led May 1 at the Seattle Mussar Kallah. You can listen to the talk here or go to http://db.tt/rUoOMGC.
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