What is Mussar?
Mussar is a traditional Jewish ethical-spiritual discipline
enjoying a substantial resurgence in our time.
The method guides us in bringing positive virtues or ‘soul traits’ to bear in our daily lives.
In an attempt to better understand ourselves and better our capacity to love and be of service to others, Mussar practice integrates personal reflection (like journaling), text study, group discussion and mutual support around a particular midah [soul-trait], such as compassion, humility, joy, silence, honor, patience or gratitude.
I have been teaching and learning mussar with a devoted group around a table at Congregation Beth Evergreen every Thursday afternoon since the fall of 2007. The impact and importance mussar to me and that company cannot be overstated. This gathering prompts curiosity about the attributes of divinity, offers insight into the human psyche, practical guidance for daily living and growing our moral-spiritual selves, and especially mutual support and friendship.
A large part of the motivation for this website and blog, Elijah's Chair, is to share the wonders of mussar to a wider audience so the benefits can reach far and wide.