Mussar is a discipline of steady personal character refinement. 
Our Mussar Master, Messiah Yeshua taught us how we should bring good fruit as a demonstration of our purposeful lives.  Mussar is one important component of being a disciple and light of Messiah.

You are the light of the world.  A city that sits on the mountain will not be hidden, nor do people kindle a lamp just to put it under the bushel measure, but on the menorah, to illuminate all who are in the house.  So also, shine your light before sons of men, so that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16, DHE)

  • during the week...

  • gather - once or twice with your chevruta (partner) for study
  • repeat - the memory verse of the week
  • be aware - of behaviors during the day, moments that elucidate middot work
  • after sundown on saturday night...

  • finish - journal entries for friday and saturday and score yourself in your charts
  • assess - your scores in your journal charts by tallying them and reflecting on the results
  • in the morning...

  • meditate  - on the middah for the week
  • repeat - the memory verse of the week
  • be aware - of behaviors during the day, moments that elucidate middot work
  • in the evening...

  • journal - positive or negative moments related to the weekly middah
  • account -by filling in your daily or chesbon hanefesh chart

middah of the week


We all need food, sleep, and love.

Loving-kindness is acting out in loving and thoughtful ways to bring accord and friendship between those we do and don’t know. This type of living is other-centered and fosters harmony. In an overabundance of loving-kindness, we see excessive doting and lack of care for oneself; in an extreme lack of loving-kindness, we see selfishness and egotism rampant. This trait in balance serves humanity and self. It is considered a vital foundation of the world.

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author's blog

    rav rafael Developing Mussar class at UMJC Conference
    Written by rav rafael

    Many thanks to all who attended our recent intro to Mussar at the summer 2014 UMJC Conference.  Rabbi Paul Saal and Rabbi Jason Forbes (aka. rav rafael) presented this class to a packed room. 

    Due to the amount of interest at this conference, we plan to start a new year cycle after the fall holidays, on October 19th, 2014.  Sign up on our email list to the right.  In the meantime, we recommend you get started learning with the book Everyday Holiness.

    Click "read more" to listen and view the presentation.

    Written on Sunday, 20 July 2014 20:42

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this week

Moshe Rabbenu teaches loving-kindness
Here's a drash on loving-kindness adapted from my book Creation to Completion, which comments on parashat Ki Tisa (Ex. 30:11-34:35). Parashat Ki Tisa includes Hashem’s revelation of his glory to Moses, the thirteen attributes of God. This self-revelation opens with the words, “Adonai! Adonai! a . . .
chesed and truth
For the Torah was given through Moshe; chesed and truth came through Yeshua the Messiah. -- Yochanan 1:17 Chesed is one of those rich Hebrew terms that defy a direct one-word translation into English. We often translate it as lovingkindness, which is actually two words jammed together, and not a wor . . .
chesed and forgiveness
In his commentaries in both the Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur Koren Machzorim Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks speaks of the God who “creates us in love and forgiveness, who loves and forgives, and asks us to love and forgive others.” Love is so often found side-by-side with forgiveness in discussions of . . .
how the world stands
A woman died and left no money to pay for her funeral. She was an inhabitant of one of the Lithuanian twin towns of Kovno and Slobodka, which were separated only by a small river. A dispute arose between the burial societies of both towns as to which town was responsible for her burial, and would the . . .
His chesed is always there!
One of the high points of the Passover Seder every year, especially when our kids were growing up, came toward the end, when we’d recite the Great Hallel, Psalm 136. . . .
do a chesed
There was an older gentleman I used to to interact with fairly regularly at a Rabbi Nachman shiur I used to attend. . . .
bottled up kindness
'The kindnesses of the Lord I shall sing forever; to generation after generation I shall make known Your faithfulness, with my mouth. For I said, "Forever will it be built with kindness; as the heavens, with which You will establish Your faithfulness."' -– Psalms 89:2-3 The lessons of kindness co . . .
showering chesed
The Hebrew word for loving-kindness is chesed.    . . .

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