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17.11.16

Musar Movement [Learning Ethics]

 In the Musar Movement of Reb Israel Salanter there was a subtle shift of emphasis from the axis of Musar during the Middle Ages to a new axis. In the Middle Ages the axis was a balance between Reason and Revelation. [That is Faith and Reason.]
The Musar Movement itself emphasized fear of God and good character traits. 
[Even though each one of the great Musar Yeshivas built by the disciples of Reb Israel Salanter all had a different focus, still the ground level  was these two principles--Fear of God and work on good character. 

No one really knows any more how they worked on character. You can try to dig up hint in the books that they wrote but it is not at all clear. Nowadays the most you have is a few minutes of learning Musar before Mincha and Maariv.   

I can not say I am very happy with this. The average session of Musar in the great Musar yeshivas was 40  minutes and 45 minutes.

But I am myself no "Baal Musar" If I could I would rather focus on the points brought out and emphasized by three individuals. The Gra, Reb Israel Salanter, and Rav Shach. That is these three points:(1) Learning Torah (2) Learning Musar (3) combining the Rambam with the Gemara.  [If possible it makes sense to make a commitment to learning Gemara an hour every day and Musar and the Tur, Beit Joseph in such a way as to get through the basic material from cover to cover, every last word.What one does not understand in this world he will understand in the next world.] The Talmud itself ought to be done with Tosphot and the Mahrasha. That is to have one session in which you keep at the same Tosphot for days and weeks until it starts to become clear.