straight • upright • righteous

newsletter of  The Mussar Institute


August 2012



Mussar: what is the definition? It all boils down to this. When you see someone who has mastered Mussar, you see a different specimen of humanity. You see an exquisite sensitivity to people, a heightened spirituality before Hashem. You see a person reaping the fruits of steady, strenuous work. Work on himself.
-- Rabbi Hillel Goldberg, The Fire Within, p. 192

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Phone: 778-300-6174

Alan MorinisThrough a Mussar Lens:
The Importance of Studying with Others

I had just finished giving a talk when a woman approached and asked if she could have a private word with me. That sort of request happens not infrequently after I have given a talk because most of what I say focuses on the soul, its journey and the trials it faces in this life, and that can stir things up for a person whose situation is particularly difficult at the moment.
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Jason WinstonWelcome

As the High Holidays near, this month’s Yashar theme is repentance. We wanted to start early to give us time to focus on the middot that trouble us the most and to provide us the opportunity to prepare ourselves fully.
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Rabbi Aryeh WolbeCome to the Mussar Kallah. Here's one of the great teachers you will learn with.

Rabbi Aryeh Wolbe is a new and exciting addition to the faculty of The Mussar Institute, but he is hardly new to Mussar. His passion for Mussar started at a young age, while savoring a close relationship with his legendary grandfather, Mussar Master Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe, z"l. Much of his teachings are based on the writings, words and lessons from his grandfather, author of Alei Shur.  
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Robert BarrisMy Mussar Journey

My entry into Mussar work began at an unusual location, the bookstore at Omega Institute, just prior to the start of a seven-day mindfulness retreat. The shidduch (match) was perfect! I had been on several past meditation retreats but was starting to become demoralized.
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Mikchele Matis JackmanAround the Mussar World: Thousand Oaks, CA

Four times a month I spend an hour with 80- and 90-year-olds facilitating the practice of Mussar. For almost two years I have been facilitating, often with my husband, Richard, a course we call Values for Everyday Living, at two different Senior Retreats in our community. It is such a joy to spend an hour studying with 10-25 beautiful souls. Even at their age, these people are still searching for meaning in their lives.
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Leader & groupBecome a Mussar Group Leader

Manchim: Mussar Group Facilitators Training begins October 21
Are you ready to train to lead Mussar groups? Do you want to develop tools and techniques to guide groups in the unique, traditional processes of Mussar va’adim? Do you see leadership experiences and Mussar study as a way to enhance your personal spiritual growth?
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A pair of wise chevruta partnersMussar Kallah X: Special price for chevruta!

Meet your chevruta at the upcoming Mussar Kallah X in Zion, IL (just north of Chicago), October 26 – 29, 2012.

Come and spend time learning and sharing with your partner. To encourage you to do that, we are offering a special incentive to you and your chevruta:

When you and your chevruta register for the Kallah, you can each take $25 off the already low registration fee of $450. For some of you, this may be your first time to meet in person.

When you and your chevruta both register for the Kallah, please notify Jeff Agron at, and you will each receive a refund of $25.

Alan Morinis will be joined at this year’s Kallah by scholars-in-residence Rabbi Yaakov Feldman and Rabbi Aryeh Wolbe, two experienced and highly regarded Mussar teachers. The theme of the Kallah this year is “Yirah—the awe, reverence and fear of heaven.”

Registration is open for Mussar Kallah X.

The Practice Corner

The core Mussar practice is called cheshbon ha'nefesh, which translates as accounting of the soul. There is a formal way to do this practice, with a phrase and a journal, but it also applies to any inner stock-taking you may do. Pause for a moment and look back over the last day or two. That should be enough time for you to see an incident in which you spoke or behaved in ways that do not accord with your ideals. Think about that incident and see if you can identify the middah (soul-trait) that you were acting on in a less-than-ideal way. Was it a lack of humility? Simple impatience? A lack of truth? The absence of gratitude? Worry? Be still and quiet and consider and the answer will come to you. When you have identified the trait, you now know something about your personal spiritual curriculum. You have identified a threshold where you have the potential to grow. This brings us back to formal Mussar practice because the transformation of traits is not a matter of wishful thinking, but of learning, commitment and practical engagement. Courses are available to help you master your curriculum.

Newsletter Home
Through a Mussar Lens: The Importance of Studying with Others – by Alan Morinis
Welcome – by Jason Winston
Kallah 2012: YIRAH – The Beginning of Wisdom
My Mussar Journey – by Robert Barris
Around the Mussar World: Thousand Oaks, CA – by Michele Matis Jackman
Mussar Kallah X: Special price for chevruta!
The Practice Corner

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