Friday, 01 June 2012 14:00


Written by riverton mussar


"Who is rich? He who is happy with what he has." -- Avot 4:1, Ben Zoma

"Happy are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."  --Matthew 5:8

"As the wallet grows, so do the needs." — Yiddish proverb

"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'"  --Hebrews 13:5

 “People where you live," the little prince said, “grow five thousand roses in one
garden... yet they don’t find what they’re looking for...” “They don’t find it,” I answered. “And yet what they’re looking for could be found in a single rose, or a little water...” — Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." — Albert Einstein

"It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it." — Lou Holtz

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." — Leonardo da Vinci

"There is no greatness where there is not simplicity, goodness, and truth." — Leo Tolstoy

"Manifest plainness,
Embrace simplicity,
Reduce selfishness,
Have few desires."  — Lao Tzu

"Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair." — Kahlil Gibran

Monday, 21 May 2012 05:47

necessary or not?

Written by rabbi russ resnik

art-reiHappy are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. --Matthew 5:8

I yearn for simplicity, but life insists on complicating itself.

Sunday, 20 May 2012 09:22

questions to ask yourself

Written by riverton mussar

art-questionsUse these questions to evaluate your day:

    1. Are you able to open your heart and trust others easily, or are you cynical?
    2. Do past experiences make it impossible for you to trust others who may otherwise be very trustworthy?
    3. Do you trust people too easily? Do you look at a person’s reputation and assess your ability to trust them with reliability?
    4. Are there areas in your life where you can improve so that you may become more trustworthy and relied upon by others?
    5. Do you have a shem tov (a good name)? Does this allow others to trust you? If not, what could you do to improve this?
    6. What characteristics make you trustworthy? Seek to improve on one of those traits.
    7. Do you have anyone who can vouch for your trustworthiness? Does your reputation proceed you and people give you responsibilities frequently? If not, why not?
      Sunday, 20 May 2012 09:17

      questions to ask yourself

      Written by riverton mussar

      art-questionsUse these questions to evaluate your day:

        1. Are you able to focus on your Creator daily in such a way that prayer is effortless? If not, why?
        2. Are you easily distracted? Or do you ignore others when you are doing something that seems important
          to you? Where is your balance of concentration?
        3. Do you focus your mind energy to complete a task, or are you easily distracted and take long periods of
          time to complete something?
        4. Do you strive to finish things and finish them well for the sake of Heaven?
        5. Are you able to create long-term goals and stick to them, or do you give up easily when there are obstacles?
        6. Do you make time for meditation? If not, is it because you have difficulty concentrating?
        7. Are you able to concentrate on what is around you and see more deeply into matters? Are you involved
          in superficial tasks and reading so that you never reach deeper levels of understanding?
          Sunday, 20 May 2012 09:14

          questions to ask yourself

          Written by riverton mussar

          art-questionsUse these questions to evaluate your day:

            1. Are you aware of how your actions and behavior affect others?
            2. Are you aware of your weaknesses in certain middot and working actively to strengthen yourself?
            3. Are you current on world and local events and how you can engage yourself?
            4. Do your struggles come from being unaware of your behavior or do they just come from nowhere? Do you have any role in causing them and if so what is your role?
            5. Is there a character trait you are not aware of that causes you to have many struggles in life? Are you
              aware of how Hashem or others are working with you to overcome this trait? Do you allow yourself
              to be molded?
            6. Do you isolate yourself in your own bubble and remain out of touch with the needs of family and friends? How can you engage more?
            7. How aware are you of your effect on others? How can you make your effect more positive?
              Sunday, 20 May 2012 09:09

              questions to ask yourself

              Written by riverton mussar

              art-questionsUse these questions to evaluate your day:

                1. Is there an area in your life (home, routine, possessions) where you struggle with simplicity?
                2. Do you have more than you need (food, home, possessions)? Why and how can you curb this?
                3. Is there a way that you simplified your life today? Are you happier with the simplicity? Did it bring a
                  sense of freedom?
                4. Do you overcomplicate your life with excess? What is this excess? Sometimes the simplest solutions are like lighting a candle to remove darkness and chaos…what simple candle could you light to
                  overcome your ‘darkness’?
                5. Do you find it difficult to be because of all the stumbling blocks you set in your path? Do you have simple goals?
                6. Do you have time-out moments where you can read a book or take a simple walk without technology?
                7. Examine your home. What in your home helps you to exist and what bogs you down?
                  Wednesday, 16 May 2012 09:24

                  butter or clay?

                  Written by rabbi michael schiffman

                  art-butterCompassion is one of the most important of character traits, yet its an attribute that comes from learning, mostly in the school of hard knocks. People who have compassion reflect the face of God, because He Himself is compassionate to all.

                  Monday, 14 May 2012 09:28

                  merciful consideration

                  Written by rebbetzin malkah

                  art-boxwritingRav Yisrael Salanter was a leading 19th century sage who founded the Mussar movement which was dedicated to the study and renewal of Torah teachings and halachot regarding ethical behavior and character development. One early morning, a disciple of Rav Yisrael passed through a room full of sleeping people in order to get water for the ritual washing of his hands. Rav Yisrael later rebuked him, saying: “Washing the hands when you wake up is a mitzvah instituted by our sages, but robbing others of their sleep is forbidden by the Torah!” Rav Yisrael was reminding his disciple that the Torah's prohibition, “You shall not rob” (Leviticus 19:13), includes a prohibition against “robbing” someone of his sleep.

                  The disciple needed to realize that his action was mistaken for two reasons: It was wrong to violate this prohibition in order to wash his hands; moreover, the mitzvah to wash one’s hands upon awakening is a rabbinic mitzvah, while robbing others of their sleep is a Torah prohibition and therefore takes priority.  --taken from “Sparks of Mussar” by Rabbi Chaim Ephraim Zaitchik

                  Sunday, 13 May 2012 11:05

                  complete compassion

                  Written by rabbi russ resnik

                  art-outsidebedOur chavurah is reading together through Luke in the Delitzsch Hebrew Gospels, and this week we came to this verse: “Therefore, be compassionate just as your Father is compassionate” (Lk 6:36), the climax to Messiah Yeshua’s instructions to love our enemies and be generous toward the undeserving.

                  Saturday, 12 May 2012 21:54

                  compassion in action

                  Written by rabbi benjamin ehrenfeld

                  art-tzedakahI may be naïve, but I really do believe compassion comes naturally to most people at a core level.

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