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13.8.16

[Books of Mediaeval Ethics]

In my own approach to Musar [Books of Mediaeval Ethics] I have tried to go more with the Rambam than in the other approaches.
As is well known every school of Musar had a different emphasis. My own approach is to take the idea of Isaac Blasser [the first and foremost disciple of Israel Salanter] that the main thing to emphasize is fear of God. But to get to fear of God I would take the idea of the Rambam of learning Physics and Metaphysics.
This I know is a departure from the traditional schools of Musar.
Most of them were against secular studies completely to the degree that they ignored the fact that the very books the Musar movement was founded on take the approach of the Rambam.
Still I realize that there are different schools of thought in the movement and I do not want to imply any of them were wrong. I can see the amazing effect of going to any Musar Yeshiva has on most people (except the Mashgiach himself who is suppose to be teaching it.)

I think that with in mind that every human enterprise has the flaw of being run by humans, still the Musar movement deserves consideration.
I see other ideas that have been suggested to help either individuals or larger groups. Most of the ideas come under the group heading of religions of political structures.

No one that I have seen emphasizes Musar on a global scale. And that is sad because I can see how it could help almost anywhere.


The Renaissance was caused by a return to the the ideas and writings of Ancient Athens and Rome. By taking of what was great from them it surpassed them in many ways. I also have seen the Middle Ages as having elements of greatness that the modern age lacks completely..
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Though Musar is founded on specific books the basic idea is universally applicable. That is the main thing is to work on one's מידות character traits and the way to do that is by learning books from the Middle Ages that emphasized that and explained it. For books like this have a background that is religious but the emphasis is on character.