In recent years, I experienced the transition from a full-time career to retirement (more or less), and from being a mother with an unmarried son to becoming a mother-in-law and then grandmother with two extraordinary granddaughters who are now a significant part of my life. One of my most profound transitions has been from a person who just four years ago did not know what Mussar was, to a person now on the Jewish spiritual path that leads to awareness, wisdom and transformation. Each of you will have experienced your own transitions that will have challenged you and been a source of much spiritual growth. Hopefully, you have found some guidance in the wisdom that Mussar provides.
Each month, Yashar will send a question to one or two Mussar teachers on an idea, practice, text, middah, or other Mussar-related challenge that someone is confronting. Email your question to email@example.com .
This month’s question:
I’m working on not being sarcastic. It’s so ingrained in our culture, as a form of humor. Whole careers are made on it. One doesn’t want to be known as “too serious,” yet sarcasm can be so hurtful. Do you have suggestions?
Rushing around from one thing to the next, juggling projects, deadlines, helping others. How can I possibly remember everything I need to do? What transitions? Everything runs into everything else.
Okay. Stop! Breathe. Take a moment to get centered. Just one minute is all it takes to get grounded and be able to focus and move on.
Do you have the Bitachon / Trust to let yourself experience this practice? Do you have the Ratzon / Will to sit for just one minute for your own benefit? Be Patient, have Savlanut, and give yourself this gift.
The Festival of Sukkot is one of the most joyous holidays for Jews. Historically, Sukkot commemorates the 40-year period during which the Israelites wandered in the desert following the Exodus from Egypt. We are commanded to dwell, and eat our meals, in a temporary shelter called a sukkah. Agriculturally, Sukkot is a time for farmers to give thanks to God for the bounty of the agricultural harvest. It is a time to contemplate our abundance with gratitude. In Southeast Michigan, the farmers markets are filled with fresh fruits and vegetables, including locally grown apples, to enjoy in the sukkah.
Do you have an Amazon account? If so, then whenever you shop on Amazon, you can help The Mussar Institute earn money through AmazonSmile. What is AmazonSmile? It is a simple and automatic way for you to support TMI (or any of your favorite charities) every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you sign up for AmazonSmile on your account, Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price (.5%) to TMI. We are now one of over 1 million approved non-profits. Not all items are eligible, but tens of millions are.
TMI Bulletin Board
First Mussar Kallah in Europe
Sunday, October 26, 2014, in Amsterdam. Learn more.
Study with The Mussar Institute
Fall course registration opens Oct. 12.
Membership for 2014 –15 now open. Great benefits.
SOMETHING TO ANNOUNCE? If you have an upcoming Mussar event, publication or other note, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org for possible publication in an upcoming issue.
With our entry into a new year and the approach of fall, we have the opportunity to appreciate the transitions around us. Take some time out of your day, preferably in nature, to reflect on the cooler temperatures, gentle breezes, and changing colors of the leaves. Breathe gently in and out. Close your eyes. Breathe gently in and out again. What do you feel? What transitions are you experiencing in your own life now? Greet these transitions as well with a gentle breath, with appreciation.
And for those of our Mussar friends in the Southern Hemisphere: As spring approaches, reflect on the increasing temperatures, the drier air, and the scent and color of the budding flowers, and then continue to reflect on the transitions in your own life.
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