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13.8.17

The approach of Reb Israel Salanter [the founder of the Musar Movement] as far as I can see as to consider learning musar [books of medieval Ethics] to be the best way to come to fear of God and good character. But one thing stands out in this whole thing. It is that coming to fear of God is a goal. Perhaps the highest goal. That was at least how I understood it. To some degree you can see this in the verse: אם תבקשנה ככסף וכמטמונים תחפשנה אז תבין יראת ה' ודעת א' תמצא Proverbs 2. "If you seek it like money and like a treasure you search for it, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and the knowledge of God you will find." As a goal we do find the the Five books of Moses the idea of the fear of God as being the highest goal.

However to the Rambam the fear of God is reached not in the conventional way but rather by learning Physics and Metaphysics--along with Torah.

At the time I was at the Mir yeshiva I took the approach of Reb Israel Salanter quite literally. I have to say this seems to have in fact resulted in the exact kind of results that he predicted. So I can not really say if my later approach is all that much better.