Knowing Ourselves/Others Better through the Mussar Lenses of Humility, Anger, Gratitude, Trust, Honour, & Alacrity
14 Week Course
From January 10 up to May 2, 2022 (Monday Evenings)
From 7:00 – 8:30pm
Members: $75; Non-members: $100
Rabbinical Advisor: Senior Rabbi Kliel Rose, CEC
Mussar Facilitator: John Hample MA, MAdEd, TMI Yesod Cert.
The Mussar Institute (TMI) Season of Mussar 1 course is a widely-accepted, modern North American resource for growing and sharing our own practice of this richly evolving Jewish growth-work tradition. 21st-century Mussar has been described as: “the science of menschology”; “Jewish mindfulness meditation”; “everyday holiness”; and as ‘opening the heart’ or nefesh to what the head purports to know about self and other. Common to most mussar teachings is accepting the obligation to become ‘the best possible version of ourselves’ through systematic daily practice focused on the skillfulness (or not) of our life-outlook (hashkafah) and relationships.
Season 1 introduces mussardik skill-building tools and methods to explore this obligation individually, as well through facilitated group-based (va’ad) discussion, and one-on-one (havruta) learning partnerships. Coursework proceeds by way of text-study, structured daily/weekly practice commitments, and mutually-respectful sharing of our Mussar learning. We will get a taste of such mussardik practices as ‘soul trait’-specific daily journaling, guided contemplation, presenting brief Torah-talks, and distinguishing between our ‘ego-stories’ and ‘soul stories.’ A first-order commitment is to share achrayut/responsibility for a safe, confidential, and Jewishly enriching va’ad environment.
The work is ordered around close attention to middot (sing. middah): the ‘personal soul-traits’, or characterological ‘measures’, which shape our behaviour and aspiration. Of particular concern is to appreciate not only how single soul-traits’ are embodied, but also how they interact to expand, colour, or limit our lived experience. The six main middot (with a few questions) we will explore include:
Anavah (Humility) – What am I, a doormat? Where do ‘My Space’ boundaries begin/end?
Ka’as (Anger) – Why does Rambam say that a ‘happy medium’ here just doesn’t cut it?
Hakarat haTov (Taking Hold of the Good) – What is it? What’s at stake?
Bitachon (Trust) – Same thing as Emunah (Faith)? Does it free us from relying on our own effort?
Kavod (Honour) – To whom, to what? Even Amalek? And why in Pirkei Avot is it a two-edged sword?
Zerizut (Alacrity) – What’s with the mussardik idea that this comes in two very different flavours?
Undecided? Uncertain if this is for you? Let’s talk! Please e-mail our instructor John Hample at: [email protected].
Interested? Ready to commit to participating? Please contact Congregation Etz Chayim at [email protected] or (204) 589-6305.