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riverton mussar

Thursday, 03 November 2011 02:09

quotes

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"The LORD has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad." -- Tehillim 118:24

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, Who does not change like shifting shadows." -- James 1:17

"They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." -- Lamentations 3:23

"You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. LORD my God, I will praise You forever." -- Tehillim 30:11-12

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." -- Romans 8:28

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life." -- Mishlei 13:12

"At midnight I rise to give You thanks for your righteous laws." -- Tehillim 119.62

"I know that the LORD secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy. Surely the righteous will praise Your name, and the upright will live in your presence." --Tehillim 140:12-13

So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot. For who can bring them to see what will happen after them? -- Kohelet 3:22

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will… -- I Thessalonians 5:18

I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. -- Ephesians 1:16

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. -- Philippians 4.6

When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. -- Devarim 8:10

 

Sunday, 30 October 2011 17:47

responsibility

middahSeek to fulfill your purpose each day.

Responsibility is assessing what is ours to do to and seeing these tasks through to completion. A proper balance of this trait is where one spreads out the tasks for each other and for self.  When one takes on too much responsibility, this leads to stress and the tendency to control situations and take over.  At the other end of imbalance, one who is irresponsible takes on little to no tasks and does not realize the ramifications of negligence. When we do what we are beholden and capable of doing with firm resolve, we repair the world and make living for all more bearable.

featured articles


In Parashat Vayakhel, the Israelites finally begin to build the tabernacle after the disastrous detour of the golden calf. The Lord provides detailed instructions for the tabernacle...
by rabbi russ resnik in torah
Responsibility, in society has negative connotations. When something goes wrong, everyone looks for who is Responsible. Responsibility has become a synonym for “guilt.” Whoeve...
by rabbi michael schiffman in besorah
Responsibility has become a sort of hot potato in our times. We want others to take lots of it, and we don’t want to take any ourselves. ...
by rabbi russ resnik in torah
“In a free society, some men are guilty and all men are responsible.” ...
by rabbi benjamin ehrenfeld in daily living
R. Simon said: When the Holy One, blessed be He, came to create Adam, the ministering angels formed themselves into groups and parties, some of them saying, Let him be created, w...
by rebbetzin malkah in mesorah
And the Lord God called to man, and He said to him, "Where are you?"  And he said, "I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I am naked; so I hid."  And ...
by rav rafael in torah
On another occasion, Rabbi Israel [Salanter] encountered an orphan boy wandering about and not going to school. When he asked the charity wardens why they did not see to defraying t...
by rebbetzin malkah in stories
When we realize that “love your neighbor as yourself” is part of the great commandment of the Shema (Mt. 22:37–40; Lk. 10:25–28), it increases our responsibility level subst...
by rabbi russ resnik in daily living

 

accounting


Use these questions to evaluate your day: What were the seeds that affected your responsibility in various arenas today? Did a you shirk away from a responsibility today and if ...

quotes


Rabbi Tarfon said: "The day is short, the task is great, the laborers are lazy, the wage is abundant and the master is urgent." -- Avot 2:20 He [Rabbi Tarfon]used to say: "It is no...

 

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daily living


“In a free society, some men are guilty and all men are responsible.” ...
When we realize that “love your neighbor as yourself” is part of the great commandment of the Shema (Mt. 22:37–40; Lk. 10:25–28), it increases our responsibility level subst...

torah


In Parashat Vayakhel, the Israelites finally begin to build the tabernacle after the disastrous detour of the golden calf. The Lord provides detailed instructions for the tabernacle...
Responsibility has become a sort of hot potato in our times. We want others to take lots of it, and we don’t want to take any ourselves. ...
And the Lord God called to man, and He said to him, "Where are you?"  And he said, "I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I am naked; so I hid."  And ...

besorah


Responsibility, in society has negative connotations. When something goes wrong, everyone looks for who is Responsible. Responsibility has become a synonym for “guilt.” Whoeve...
“A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a cer...

mesorah


R. Simon said: When the Holy One, blessed be He, came to create Adam, the ministering angels formed themselves into groups and parties, some of them saying, Let him be created, w...

meditation


"It's a question of discipline," the little prince told me later on. "When you've finished washing and dressing each morning, you must tend your planet." – Antoine de Saint-Exupé...

stories


On another occasion, Rabbi Israel [Salanter] encountered an orphan boy wandering about and not going to school. When he asked the charity wardens why they did not see to defraying t...

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Sunday, 30 October 2011 17:44

loving-kindness

middahWe 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, and is considered a vital foundation of the world.

Suggested practices:

  • Show a smile to at least five people today that you pass by today.
  • Lend an ear to someone that you know could use some company.
  • Make it a point to ask someone how his/her day is going — whether you know that person or not.
  • Give a genuine compliment to someone today.

featured articles


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...
by rabbi russ resnik in torah
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 trans...
by rabbi russ resnik in besorah
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 forg...
by rabbi benjamin ehrenfeld in daily living
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...
by rebbetzin malkah in stories
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. ...
by rabbi russ resnik in torah
There was an older gentleman I used to to interact with fairly regularly at a Rabbi Nachman shiur I used to attend. ...
by rabbi benjamin ehrenfeld in daily living
'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 kin...
by rav rafael in torah
The Hebrew word for loving-kindness is chesed.    ...
by rebbetzin malkah in meditation

 

accounting


Use these questions to evaluate your day: What were the seeds that hindered your ability to manifest loving-kindness today? Did a good deed you perfomed today lift up someone wh...

quotes


"What you hate, do not do to your friend." -- Shabbos 31a "Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD....

 

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daily living


Chesed or loving-kindness is an essential human attribute, but it’s first of all a divine attribute. If we want to cultivate chesed, we should pay attention to how Hashem exercise...
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 forg...
My maternal grandfather is often one of the least effusive people I know. He has a big white beard and it is rare that one can get a sense of what’s going on under there at any gi...
There was an older gentleman I used to to interact with fairly regularly at a Rabbi Nachman shiur I used to attend. ...
Righteousness, in its simplest form, is doing the “right” thing.  It can be argued that observing the mitzvot is practicing righteousness, and it certainly does lead us int...
A person running to do a mitzvah can destroy the world on his way. -- Rabbi Yisrael Salanter Perhaps one of the hardest things to attain is righteousness.  We strive to purs...

torah


Some things in life have to be earned, and some things cannot be. We can earn respect and reputation by our behavior, but sometimes we need help, or forgiveness, or just a break, th...
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...
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. ...
Among messianic Jews, much has been said concerning the parallels between the sacrifices of the paschal lamb and that of Yeshua. After all, the paschal lamb was the essential sac...
'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 kin...

besorah


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 trans...
"Giving in the way of chesed requires that we go beyond the boundaries that are familiar and comfortable to us. We have to stretch into chesed or else it simply isn’t chesed." ...
I work as a case coordinator in a psychiatric group home. In December, a couple who live a few houses down from the home paid a visit asking us if they could give an offering of ...

mesorah


For thus we find in the case of Cain, who killed his brother, that it is written:  the bloods of your brother cry unto me: not the blood of your brother, but the bloods of your...

meditation


The Hebrew word for loving-kindness is chesed.    ...

stories


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...
Praying alone on Saturday nights or at the end of fast days, Rabbi Israel [Salanter] would defer his tefillah (prayer) till an hour or more after dark. When praying with the congreg...

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Sunday, 30 October 2011 17:42

moderation

middahThe middle way frees one from the tyranny of cravings.

Moderation is finding a balance in all things and is crucial in healthy living. Going overboard in anything is one way that this trait is imbalanced, while depriving oneself is another. By experiencing everything in moderate amounts, one can live more wholesomely and find true balance.

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Suggested practices:

  • Identify something you do in excess and cut back.
  • Is there something that you withhold for no good reason? Try integrating it into your life if it is good.
  • Identify a passion. Take a break from it for a week.

featured articles


You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words which I command you today shall be upon your heart. You shall te...
by rebbetzin malkah in torah
Yeshua is a unique case study for moderation. On the one hand, he is fairly extreme. This is the man who taught his disciples to leave behind everything and follow him. ...
by rabbi benjamin ehrenfeld in besorah
Sh'vil HaZahav שְבִיל הַזָהַב, the golden middle or mean path, is the Hebrew concept of moderation.  And a famous quote to help us with this middah is: ...
by rebbetzin malkah in meditation
"It is not good to eat too much honey, nor is it honorable to search out matters that are too deep." -- Mishlei 25:27 ...
by rebbetzin malkah in mesorah
A person's nature can be recognized through three things: his cup, his purse, and his anger. --Talmud, Eruvin 65b ...
by rav rafael in mesorah
Sometimes, when people say “time flies,” or comment on how quickly it goes by, I think, “Compared to what?” We’ll say how quickly a year goes by, but it was a year, whatev...
by rabbi russ resnik in daily living
Once Rabbi Israel [Salanter] and his friend Rabbi Mordecai Meltzer were walking through the narrow sidestreets of Vilna. They stopped and entered a synagogue to join in the minchah ...
by rebbetzin malkah in stories
Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall b...
by rabbi russ resnik in daily living

 

accounting


Use these questions to evaluate your day: What were the seeds that started to affect your moderation today? Is there an area where you struggle with moderation (clothing, techno...

quotes


"When one engages in business or in an occupation to earn money, one should not be motivated by desire for gain alone, but by the necessity of supplying his basic requirements, such...

 

more articles

daily living


I was once having a conversation about politics with a gentleman who was quite extreme in his views. At one point he took a break from his discourse to ask me about my political vie...
Sometimes, when people say “time flies,” or comment on how quickly it goes by, I think, “Compared to what?” We’ll say how quickly a year goes by, but it was a year, whatev...
Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall b...

torah


You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words which I command you today shall be upon your heart. You shall te...

besorah


Yeshua is a unique case study for moderation. On the one hand, he is fairly extreme. This is the man who taught his disciples to leave behind everything and follow him. ...

mesorah


I have to admit that I approach the Days of Awe with some ambivalence. Unlike any of you, I’m a bit melancholic by temperament and I don’t look forward to the somber, gloomy, en...
"It is not good to eat too much honey, nor is it honorable to search out matters that are too deep." -- Mishlei 25:27 ...
A person's nature can be recognized through three things: his cup, his purse, and his anger. --Talmud, Eruvin 65b ...

meditation


Sh'vil HaZahav שְבִיל הַזָהַב, the golden middle or mean path, is the Hebrew concept of moderation.  And a famous quote to help us with this middah is: ...

stories


Once Rabbi Israel [Salanter] and his friend Rabbi Mordecai Meltzer were walking through the narrow sidestreets of Vilna. They stopped and entered a synagogue to join in the minchah ...

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Sunday, 30 October 2011 17:39

adaptability

middahThere are many ways to reach a destination.

Adaptability is accepting change and unpredictability, as well as knowing when to remain constant. With this trait in check, those who meet change do so with promise and are successful. Adaptability out of check displays itself as either a giddy chameleon that is far too changeable, or a rigid, unbending and frustrated type.

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Suggested practices:

  • Enter a new situation and discern what is positive.
  • Approach a new situation and see how you can modify your behaviours to perform, adapt and settle.
  • Identify what is uncomfortable in a new/old situation and how you can approach it differently.
  • Try a new food this week or perhaps make a new recipe that is out of your usual cuisine. Explore the flavors and note your reaction.

featured articles


He not busy being born is busy dying – Bob Dylan The other day I had coffee with Hal, the father of one of our chavurah members. He had just written his second novel, this o...
by rabbi russ resnik in besorah
I love it that adaptability is included among the middot. If it weren't, we might be tempted to think of mussar as simply a set of rules, and rigid adherence as the way to virtue. W...
by rabbi russ resnik in daily living
Once upon a time, a father and a son went to sell their old horse in the market. While they were on their way to the market, a group of people commented, “We have never seen s...
by rebbetzin malkah in stories
An older man is driving down the freeway and his car phone rings. When he answers, he hears his wife's voice urgently warning him, "Herman, I just heard on the news that there's a c...
by rabbi russ resnik in torah
The middah of adaptability is fundamental to existence; it is characteristic of God Himself. For centuries, the Sages puzzled over the question of how anything besides God can ...
by rav carl kinbar in daily living
It is rather incredible to think of all the ways in which God “adapts”  in order for us to perceive and know him. He provides us with different modes of communication and...
by rabbi benjamin ehrenfeld in besorah
"An increase of flexibility in the mind and the heart is a gift that benefits all who come in contact with us." -- Hart Lazer in introduction to Aleph Bet Yoga by Steven A. Rapp ...
by rebbetzin malkah in daily living
Soon after this R. Eleazar son of R. Simeon entered [the Beit Hamidrash] and expounded thus, "A man should always be gentle as the reed and let him never be unyielding as the ced...
by rebbetzin malkah in mesorah

 

accounting


Use these questions to evaluate your day: What were the seeds that started to erode your adaptibility today? Were there circumstances where you struggled with adapting? What was...

quotes


The LORD had said to Abram, "Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you...

 

more articles

daily living


I love it that adaptability is included among the middot. If it weren't, we might be tempted to think of mussar as simply a set of rules, and rigid adherence as the way to virtue. W...
The middah of adaptability is fundamental to existence; it is characteristic of God Himself. For centuries, the Sages puzzled over the question of how anything besides God can ...
"An increase of flexibility in the mind and the heart is a gift that benefits all who come in contact with us." -- Hart Lazer in introduction to Aleph Bet Yoga by Steven A. Rapp ...

torah


During the first few months, when Barbara and I first began attending Beit HaShofar, I was told by a very smart congregant that mules and donkeys were very intelligent. I poopo...
An older man is driving down the freeway and his car phone rings. When he answers, he hears his wife's voice urgently warning him, "Herman, I just heard on the news that there's a c...

besorah


He not busy being born is busy dying – Bob Dylan The other day I had coffee with Hal, the father of one of our chavurah members. He had just written his second novel, this o...
It is rather incredible to think of all the ways in which God “adapts”  in order for us to perceive and know him. He provides us with different modes of communication and...

mesorah


Soon after this R. Eleazar son of R. Simeon entered [the Beit Hamidrash] and expounded thus, "A man should always be gentle as the reed and let him never be unyielding as the ced...

meditation


The Hebrew word for adaptable is sagil. ...

stories


Once upon a time, a father and a son went to sell their old horse in the market. While they were on their way to the market, a group of people commented, “We have never seen s...

 Virgil Green Jersey

Sunday, 30 October 2011 17:34

generosity

middahOpen your heart and give often.

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Generosity is giving to others, whether prompted or not. Those who are generous will reach out unsolicited to those around them, lightening their load and brightening their days. Generosity imbalance, however, can appear in two ways. On one hand, being overly generous can bring one’s finances to ruin, while not being generous at all leads to miserliness and greed. A properly displayed trait of generosity knows when to give and how to give, and with the right spirit.

featured articles


One of my favorite jokes is a story of a group of scientists who, convinced that they don’t need God anymore, proceed to attempt to prove it by making a human being out of the dir...
by rabbi benjamin ehrenfeld in daily living
Travel always provides lots of opportunities for practicing the middot—standing in a TSA security line is ideal for developing patience; staying strapped into a narrow seat on a c...
by rabbi russ resnik in torah
When people think of generosity, they usually think of gift giving, especially during the winter holidays.  The focus is on what you give and what you get. ...
by rabbi michael schiffman in daily living
As it is said, And you shall love Hashem your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might. . . . And with all your might means with all your wealth. A...
by rabbi russ resnik in daily living
The Hebrew phrase for generosity is nedivut, which also means magnanimity. ...
by rebbetzin malkah in meditation
And Jacob uttered a vow, saying, "If God will be with me, and He will guard me on this way, upon which I am going, and He will give me bread to eat and a garment to wear; And if I r...
by rav rafael in torah
If there will be among you a needy person, from one of your brothers in one of your cities, in your land the Lord, your God, is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, and you ...
by rebbetzin malkah in torah
Once a very rich man, Yossele, was considered a stingy, mean miser.  Everyone was sure that he shared his wealth with no one, never gave to anyone – ever.  Everyone in t...
by riverton mussar in stories

 

accounting


Use these questions to evaluate your day: What were the seeds that started to erode your generosity today? Think of how you used the resources around you today (money, natural, ...

quotes


"Therefore, a man should take care to be generous according to his means, to be magnanimous where magnanimity is called for…weighing all in the scales of Torah." -- The Ways of th...

 

more articles

daily living


One of my favorite jokes is a story of a group of scientists who, convinced that they don’t need God anymore, proceed to attempt to prove it by making a human being out of the dir...
I am increasingly aware that time is one of the most valuable things in my life. There is so much to do and so little time, as the saying goes. My chevruta and I have often discus...
When people think of generosity, they usually think of gift giving, especially during the winter holidays.  The focus is on what you give and what you get. ...
As it is said, And you shall love Hashem your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might. . . . And with all your might means with all your wealth. A...
A friend on facebook sent me the following craigslist advertisement: “I have an unused bad of corn meal mix that I am not using. Any needy or hungry person may come and get the...

torah


Travel always provides lots of opportunities for practicing the middot—standing in a TSA security line is ideal for developing patience; staying strapped into a narrow seat on a c...
And Jacob uttered a vow, saying, "If God will be with me, and He will guard me on this way, upon which I am going, and He will give me bread to eat and a garment to wear; And if I r...
If there will be among you a needy person, from one of your brothers in one of your cities, in your land the Lord, your God, is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, and you ...

besorah


Our society has a somewhat dysfunctional approach towards generosity at this time of year. By and large the expectation is that if you receive a “holiday” gift from anot...
Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corrod...

mesorah


The act of giving is a relatively simple thing. When you give you are simply transferring something that was once yours to someone else. It is entirely possible to give angrily, hap...
(Below are excerpts from Chapter 4 of Shmoneh Prakim by Rambam regarding generosity.)  Similar is generosity, which is the middle between stinginess and wasteful extravagance....

meditation


The Hebrew phrase for generosity is nedivut, which also means magnanimity. ...

stories


Once a very rich man, Yossele, was considered a stingy, mean miser.  Everyone was sure that he shared his wealth with no one, never gave to anyone – ever.  Everyone in t...

 Virgil Green Jersey

Sunday, 30 October 2011 17:26

enthusiasm

middahStart and finish strong.

Enthusiasm is approaching a task with zeal and the desire to accomplish it. It is vital in maintaining momentum in a productive and positive life. If one displays too much enthusiasm, it appears as obsessive and manic, while a complete lack of enthusiasm shows itself as listless and uninterested. Enthusiasm brought out in the right way is contagious and can be very inspirational to many.

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Suggested exercises:

  • Enter into a difficult task earlier than planned and strive to complete itwith all your might.
  • Enter a meeting with a cheerful and can-do attitude and maintain that demeanor throughout the meeting.
  • Help someone with a difficult task by displaying a helpful and zealous attitude.
  • Set your alarm clock 15 minutes earlier than normal and begin the day with an extra prayer or meditation. Spring into the day with anticipation.

featured articles


Then they called Rebekah and said to her, "Will you go with this man?" And she said, "I will go." Genesis 24:58 One thing I’ve observed about the male psyche in my years of couns...
by rabbi russ resnik in torah
Then Miriam the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women went out after her in dance with timbrels. And Miriam chanted for them:Sing to the Lord, ...
by rabbi russ resnik in torah
I love to run. Three years of cross country in high school planted that love firmly in my bones. For any sport, enthusiasm plays a big role. ...
by rabbi benjamin ehrenfeld in besorah
Over the few years of my life, I have encountered many people who were enthusiastic over one thing or another. Sometimes they seemed too excited over whatever it was than I thought...
by rabbi michael schiffman in daily living
It’s hard to imagine a more enthusiastic response to God than the one commanded in the Shema: “You shall love Hashem your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with...
by rabbi russ resnik in torah
Around the time I entered high school I discovered that it was not “cool” to be enthusiastic. As a matter of fact, phrases like “be cool” and “that’s chill” reflected ...
by rabbi benjamin ehrenfeld in besorah
During the month of Elul, Jewish tradition recommends that everyone practice one of the main disciplines of mussar, cheshbon ha-nefesh, or taking an account of the soul. ...
by rabbi russ resnik in besorah
The Hebrew word for diligence is zerizut.  Zerizut translates to alertness, enthusiasm, agility, nimbleness, alacrity, expedition, smartness, briskness.  This de...
by rebbetzin malkah in meditation

 

accounting


Use these questions to evaluate your day: What were the seeds that started to affect your enthusiasm today? Think of matters in which you were successful today, versus one...

quotes


On Diligence... “Act while you can: While you have the chance, the means, and the strength.” – Talmud “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might; fo...

 

more articles

daily living


Rabbi Joseph Karo begins his code of Jewish Law (Shulchan Aruch) with a statement concerning the way one should get up in the morning: ...
Over the few years of my life, I have encountered many people who were enthusiastic over one thing or another. Sometimes they seemed too excited over whatever it was than I thought...
Young children tend to be the most enthusiastic people…ever. With regards to energy, they are also quite well off. Whether the energy fuels the enthusiasm or vice-versa is hard to...
I’m laid back, or so I’ve been told. Years ago I gave a message that seemed particularly compelling to me and I thought I delivered with unusual excitement and passion. After...
I can recall a time when I was teaching my children a history lesson.  We had begun a study on Greece and encountered the topic of the origins of the marathon.  For those ...
About 20 years ago, I was having lunch with a local director of a large well-known ministry.  He asked me how many hours a week I put into my work.  After thinking about i...
Diligence is one of the most underrated of human values. Some people think diligence is just being busy. It reminds me of the old Communist proverb. “We pretend to work, and ...
I recently added email to my cell phone capabilities and discovered that waiting in line will never be quite the same. If it looks like the line might hold me up for more than a ...

torah


Then they called Rebekah and said to her, "Will you go with this man?" And she said, "I will go." Genesis 24:58 One thing I’ve observed about the male psyche in my years of couns...
Then Miriam the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women went out after her in dance with timbrels. And Miriam chanted for them:Sing to the Lord, ...
It’s hard to imagine a more enthusiastic response to God than the one commanded in the Shema: “You shall love Hashem your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with...
In a biblical passage, the repetition of a work or phrase is a grammatical indicator of emphasis. Parashat Shofetim contains one of the more famous instances of this phenomenon: ...
This week we embarked upon our annual reading of Bamidbar.  The Fourth Book of the Torah is so named since it begins “Vay’daber Adonai el-Mosheh b’midbar Sinai (And the L...
Six days work may be done, but on the seventh day you shall have sanctity, a day of complete rest to the Lord; whoever performs work thereon [on this day] shall be put to death. ...
Jacob settled in the land of his father's sojournings, in the land of Canaan. These are the generations of Jacob: when Joseph was seventeen years old, being a shepherd, he was with ...

besorah


“Enthusiasm,” for most of its history as an English word, has had a mixed connotation. The word literally means “being possessed by a god” and by the 18th century had come t...
I love to run. Three years of cross country in high school planted that love firmly in my bones. For any sport, enthusiasm plays a big role. ...
Around the time I entered high school I discovered that it was not “cool” to be enthusiastic. As a matter of fact, phrases like “be cool” and “that’s chill” reflected ...
During the month of Elul, Jewish tradition recommends that everyone practice one of the main disciplines of mussar, cheshbon ha-nefesh, or taking an account of the soul. ...
“Be diligent to make your call and election sure.” 2 Peter 1:10 Divine-human partnership is one of the great themes of Scripture. Only God can create, but he places human being...
I’ve taken up power dog-walking lately. Jacky, my granddaughter’s golden retriever, is a noble beast, a trained service dog that stays in his service mode best when he’s walki...
"Not by might, nor by power, but through My spirit" - Zechariah 4:6, read on Shabbat Chanukah There is no doubt that we, as women, have the ability to carry much and rest little.&n...
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict traini...

mesorah


Fiddler on the Roof teaches us that there is a blessing for everything in Judaism (including the czar)! One can come to the same conclusion with careful analysis of a siddur or ha...
Rabbi Tarfon would say: The day is short, there is much work [to be done], the workers are lazy, [even though] the wages are great and the Householder is insistent. He would also sa...

meditation


Rebbe Nachman of Breslov is well known for his promotion of a practice called hitbodedut (make-oneself-alone). Hitbodedut is the practice of taking one hour (or however long you can...
The Hebrew word for diligence is zerizut.  Zerizut translates to alertness, enthusiasm, agility, nimbleness, alacrity, expedition, smartness, briskness.  This de...

stories


Visitors entering his room in Halberstadt would find him [Rabbi Yisrael Salanter] with a German book open in front of him, performing physical exercises, following the instructions ...
Rabbi Yisrael Salanter took particular pains always to be on time for his lectures. Yet once it had become very late and he had still not made his appearance. Concerned, his student...
Someone once told me that he heard his rosh yeshiva say, "The most dangerous person in the world is someone on his way to do a mitzvah." For some, nothing matters but for them to do...

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Sunday, 30 October 2011 17:23

honor

All creation is precious and special.

Honor is giving to others a respect that is due to them either because of age, merit or wisdom. One does not seek to achieve this; rather it is given if it is earned. Honor imbalanced can appears two ways. On one end excessive honor is ingratiating and flattering, whereas at the other end of the spectrum a complete lack of honor shows itself as blatant disregard and rudeness. Those who give honor must do so in the right manner and for the right reasons.

quotes

"Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you." -- Shemot 20:12 "And one should not study Torah or do any good deed for ...
daily living

I was visiting my aunt in New York City a few days ago and she told me about a fascinating exercise led by a guest rabbi in her synagogue. ...
Today was no ordinary day.  It was my mitigation hearing for speeding in a school zone.  Yeah, I know what you are thinking. Really?  Well, given it was a constructio...
The middah of honor is an essential part of “Love your neighbor as yourself,” which in turn is essential to the command to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and ...
torah

Ben Zoma teaches: Who is worthy of kavod? The one who treats other human beings with kavod. As it I said: For those who honor Me, I will honor, and those who scorn Me, I will scorn....
besorah

We usually think of honor as something that is earned. It is an honor to receive a Ph.D. in one’s field, or to be given an award for excellence in a particular area of work. The p...
mesorah

Now Haman thought in his heart, “Whom would the king delight to honor more than me?” (Es. 6:6) Learning the middah of honor during the week of Purim is a great fit, because the...
stories

In Jerusalem long ago, an incredible incident took place in the office of a gemach (Jewish free loan fund, acronym of gemilut chasadim, acts of kindness). Customarily, the various g...
meditation

The Hebrew word for honor is kavod.  When we give honor to others, we are elevating them to their right place.  When we rise for the elderly, we honor their age and wisdom...
accounting

Use these questions to evaluate your day: Did you consider the honor of your fellow in all your actions? Did you rise for someone who is elderly and show honor? Did you take ti...
podcasts

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Sunday, 30 October 2011 17:12

gratitude

middahLet life’s bounty cause you to whisper thanks with each breath.

Gratitude is about expressing thanks and appreciation for all that happens and is given in life: planned or unplanned. Gratitude out of whack can manifest itself in two ways. Either we placate or puff up unnecessarily those who have given to us, or we fail to demonstrate gratefulness in any capacity. Gratitude in check is when we respond appropriately with thanks for the gifts and benefits we receive and do so in the proper capacity.

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Suggested exercises:

  • Think of some positive aspects of your life today and express your gratitude and appreciation.
  • Send a card to someone you know and express your gratitude and appreciation.
  • Express your gratitude to a stranger who is serving you in some capacity today.
  • After every meal this week, say a prayer of gratitude. This can either be a traditional blessing from the siddur or perhaps a heartfelt spontaneous prayer.

featured articles


I’d hate to cite one of our patriarchs as a bad example, but at first glance our father Yaakov doesn’t seem to express gratitude when Yosef presents him to Pharaoh. The king ask...
by rabbi russ resnik in torah
One of the biggest surprises in the narrative of Genesis comes during Yaakov’s reunion with Esau when he returns to the land of Canaan. When Esau comes to meet his brother with...
by rabbi russ resnik in torah
I’m basing my practice of mussar on the Shema for the next cycle or two. I’m inspired to do this just from learning the Shema more deeply the past few months, and also by some r...
by rabbi russ resnik in torah
On his way to Yerushalayim he was passing between Shomron and the Galil.  As he came to a certain village, ten metzora'im came to greet him. They stood at a distance.  The...
by rebbetzin malkah in besorah
And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land He has given you. --Devarim 8:10, NASB ...
by rebbetzin malkah in mesorah
“Thank you for being here today,” my mom would say to every cashier, bagger, customer service worker, etc. for as many years as I can remember. She would often get varying respo...
by rabbi benjamin ehrenfeld in daily living
Rabbi Salanter once noticed that a fancy restaurant was charging a huge price for a cup of coffee. He approached the owner and asked why the coffee was so expensive. After all, som...
by rebbetzin malkah in stories
The Hebrew word for gratitude is hikarat hatov. Hikarat hatov literally means "recognizing the good." When we look around at our circumstances and our blessings and seek reason...
by rebbetzin malkah in meditation

 

accounting


Use these questions to evaluate your day: What were the seeds that started to erode your gratitude today? Did you take time to express gratitude to those around you for who they...

quotes


"The LORD has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad." -- Tehillim 118:24 "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lig...

 

more articles

daily living


In our society, we have institutionalized the practice of gratitude. People say "thank you" without thinking, and without any genuine sense of thanks.  It's become a meaningles...
“Thank you for being here today,” my mom would say to every cashier, bagger, customer service worker, etc. for as many years as I can remember. She would often get varying respo...

torah


I’d hate to cite one of our patriarchs as a bad example, but at first glance our father Yaakov doesn’t seem to express gratitude when Yosef presents him to Pharaoh. The king ask...
One of the biggest surprises in the narrative of Genesis comes during Yaakov’s reunion with Esau when he returns to the land of Canaan. When Esau comes to meet his brother with...
I’m basing my practice of mussar on the Shema for the next cycle or two. I’m inspired to do this just from learning the Shema more deeply the past few months, and also by some r...

besorah


Gratitude usually comes easily when receiving a gift (assuming it’s a gift we want). When a friend shows kindness towards me, it is very easy to be consciously grateful for...
On his way to Yerushalayim he was passing between Shomron and the Galil.  As he came to a certain village, ten metzora'im came to greet him. They stood at a distance.  The...

mesorah


Since I’m working on the middah of gratitude this week, I want to focus on the morning blessings, Birkot ha-shachar, in my daily prayers. These blessings all start with the founda...
And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land He has given you. --Devarim 8:10, NASB ...

meditation


The Hebrew word for gratitude is hikarat hatov. Hikarat hatov literally means "recognizing the good." When we look around at our circumstances and our blessings and seek reason...

stories


Rabbi Salanter once noticed that a fancy restaurant was charging a huge price for a cup of coffee. He approached the owner and asked why the coffee was so expensive. After all, som...

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Friday, 25 February 2011 22:26

what our members are saying

Riverton Mussar is community support for something I enjoy, benefit from, and should have been doing for a long time. My chevrutah partner and I are reading Mesillat Yesharim [The Path of the Just] and the weekly emails and articles on middot from RM keep me watchful and alert.

-D. L.

February 25, 2011


 

Dear Mussar Team,  

I have truly benefitted from the Mussar Program because it has made me stop and think before I speak (still working feverishly on that)  I have come to remind myself my reaction to whatever is said or happening at the time can make a difference- the other person's treatment of me or my outlook on the event  can be changed to a positive one.

Tracking my daily score has made me want to try and be better the next day. The overall week shows that I have not done well or have done better I need to try and hone my skill at knowing Yeshua's want me to do with my talents. I also can improve my knowledge of his great works. I feel I'm stepping back in time when I was meeker,milder,quieter and I miss that person. I see that my spouse is noticing my behavior and reacting accordingly which is wonderful. He remembers that person I was more than I.

I want everyday to be a personification of what Yeshua might do in situations. I want to seek him in every face I see and remind myself that every person has him inside and that I should treat them according to His wishes.

The program has made me more aware of my behaviors. It also has made me more conscious of the world around me.We all affect one another.The consciousness of the poor and needy has also come to a forefront. Most programs for self-improvement are self-centered. You improve yourself and no one else matters. This is reaching to the depths of our souls and hearts and that's what makes it so different. It touches me in ways I had forgotten. I am very glad to have joined this program.

- L.A.

February 25, 2011

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this week


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chesed and forgiveness
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There was an older gentleman I used to to interact with fairly regularly at a Ra . . .
bottled up kindness
'The kindnesses of the Lord I shall sing forever; to generation after generation . . .
showering chesed
The Hebrew word for loving-kindness is chesed.    . . .

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