Mussar - Learning and Living Jewish Virtues
I hope you’re enjoying a zissen Pesach. Have you had a look at our Crowdsourced Seder on YouTube - www.5959online.org. It’s amazing and inspiring. Thank you very much to Leah Jones for your direction and production. And much gratitude to Ted Raichel for an inspiring idea. And to all who participated, I say kol ha-kavod! I appreciate how each of you lifted our zman cheruteinu, our season of freedom.
One of my favorite spiritual practices this time of year - as we count the Omer toward Shavuot, our summer feast of weeks - is studying mussar. Mussar is an ethical practice and cultural movement that has its roots in 19th-century Lithuania. The focus of Mussar is Jewish virtues - learning and living these middot, as we call them in Hebrew.
This year, I aim to propel our communal practice of Mussar forward. We’ll continue to post middah-motivated reflections on 5959online.org - some new, some for review. We’ll also hold a three-session conversation online in partnership with our friends at Temple Jeremiah in Northfield and Jewish Child & Family Services. The invitation follows:
Mussar: The Spiritual Vaccine for the Time of COVID-19
Join Temple Jeremiah, Emanuel Congregation, and JCFS Chicago as we explore how to bring better balance into our days as parents during the pandemic. We will learn from Jewish texts and from each other how the middot (character traits) of equanimity, patience, and anger arrive for each of us now and how we can use this knowledge to create the practices that help us build better versions of ourselves so that we can be better parents, partners, and community members.
We will meet for three consecutive Sundays via Zoom: April 11th, 18th, and 25th from 10:30 - 11:30 a.m.
To register for the first session, click here. Please join us. We’ll be excited to welcome you.
Moadim l’simcha! May these middle days of Passover be joyful!
Make it a day of blessing! Be a force for good! Stay in the fight!
Rabbi Craig Marantz