Rabbi (Rav) Yisrael Salanter (1810-1883) was a famed Talmudist and founder of the Mussar movement. Rav Salanter was mentored in Mussar by Rabbi Zundel. They both lived very modest lives. Rav Salanter was appointed the head of a yeshiva in Vilna, where he lived in poverty, and acquired his own following.
After turning down a Professorship in Talmudic studies, he moved from Vilna and started his own Mussar shtiebel (small Jewish house or room of learning).
Spirituality is like a bird: If you hold it too closely, it chokes, and if you hold it too loosely, it escapes.
There is no greater disease than the loss of hope.
There is no greater illness than discouragement!
Scriptural study is not an end in itself. It must be accompanied by ethical study and conduct.
Promote yourself, but do not demote another.Rav Yisrael Salanter
By 1939 Mussar was well-established in Eastern European yeshivot until the teachers and practitioners were murdered in the Holocaust.
Today, Mussar has experienced a resurgence in all branches of Judaism.
Mussar practice follows a three step approach:
1) Mantra: Read aloud or chanted to set your intentions for the day.
2) Action: Actively practicing a Mussar middah (character trait).
3) Journaling: Keeping a Mussar Journal of your thoughts and feelings as a practitioner.
Click Page 2 Below for an Introduction to Mussar Mindfulness Practice.