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In This Issue
At a recent Shabbat I led a “Taste of Mussar” session at my synagogue that focused on Mussar and relationships. Teaching provided the opportunity to experience Mussar through the fresh perspective of class participants. Seeing how even a basic introduction to Mussar touched participants in significant and meaningful ways was a source of joy to me as their guide.
Kol Hakavod to current and future Mussar Institute teachers, leaders and facilitators. We are grateful to you for your work in sharing knowledge of Mussar with others.
By Alan Morinis
The deepening financial crisis, global warming and the troubles in Israel, among the many other issues plaguing our world, call into question the role spirituality plays in worldly affairs. Does seeking a spiritual life require us to pull back from the tumult of the everyday in order to draw closer to the presence of God, in peace and tranquility? Some would answer “yes” and I don’t criticize that contemplative response. Part of me would like that for myself, too. But I have never actually made that choice, I think because another part of me (that has consistently won out) rises to the challenge of finding the spiritual in the everyday, even in the murky, uncertain, painful parts of life. My God isn’t a high noon divinity. My God has to be there in the darkness too, in some form, with some meaning.
By Shirah Bell, Director of Everyday Holiness Program
The winter season seems interminably long (at least here in Seattle); the economy goes from bad to worse; and the heart-wrenching struggles in Israel continue. Gratitude seems to be an appropriate middah to cultivate. It’s been a lot more difficult to write about than I anticipated. I’m confronting how feeling grateful doesn’t come naturally. What comes naturally is feeling entitled. “I deserve .…” Fill in the blank with good health, decent income, or nice house. When I receive more than what I think I deserve, gratitude comes naturally.
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