eMussar – The Wisdom of Personal Growth
A daily inspirational, concise idea, with a suggested action.
“THE BOOK OF LIFE”
“If a person desires to merit a virtuous life, he must act in a fair and upright fashion, and amass mitzvos and good deeds in order to counterbalance his many transgressions.
Yet, what can a person do, when he must face life’s vagaries each and every day?
It requires just a simple skill which involves neither clarity of mind nor a lengthy commitment. Let him repeat the Mussar teachings of Chazal several times, until the hispailus (emotional arousal) is awakened in his soul. (And even if it does not initially stir him to improve his ways, he is still considered as being inscribed in the Book of Life!) Since he is alive with feeling [the desire to change], he fulfills the verse (Koheles 9:4): “For he who is attached to all the living has hope,” and he is numbered amongst those who repent.”
(Ohr Yisrael, Letter 30, page 336-337)
Why should the study of Mussar, in and of itself, grant merit for a person to be inscribed in The Book of Life, even if he did not improve his actions?
If one endeavors to improve his conduct and character by virtue of Mussar study, even if he does not change his ways-he has initiated a dependable healing process within his soul. His effort to inculcate Mussar-and the internal impressions that resonate within his subconscious-are fully acknowledged by Heaven. Although he may not yet see the difference, his nature is continuously changing and improving-with the same certainty that an impression is made when water continuously flows over rock.
Moreover, while the curative power of any other medicine is not absolute i.e. maybe it will heal, maybe it will not-the curative powers of Mussar are absolute and effective. What’s more, the healing power of Mussar not only heals the soul, it actually imparts life, as King Solomon declared (Mishlei 4:13): “Strengthen your grasp on Mussar, do not weaken your grip; protect it, for Mussar is your life.”
Therefore, if a person studies Mussar, whether or not there is an obvious change in his conduct, he has injected his soul with a surefire remedy. Mussar is life itself! In light of this, HaShem will inscribe his name in The Book of Life!
Implementation: You are learning Mussar-and as you are learning–visualize your name being inscribed in The Book of Life.
By Rabbi Zvi Miller.
Salant Foundation’s eMussar(sm) gives you a piece of practical wisdom and perspective for your daily life…in just 3 or 4 minutes a day!
These practical character enhancement and personal growth tools stay impact your mind and your character….and you’ll likely have a chance to try out these inspiring insights and lessons almost every day.
Just so you know, “mussar” is the traditional name for the teaching of character development and personal growth. And Salant Foundation’s eMussar delivers this perspective to you every day via e-mail.
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eMussar” Copyright © 2010 by Rabbi Zvi Miller
and the Salant Foundation