Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Ohr Yisrael: R’ Salanter’s Letters (11-12)

We’ll be combining two of R’ Salanter’s letters here (11 and 12), both of which are short but touch upon themes we’d already addressed in new ways. The first is unusual in that it was clearly addressed to some of R’ Salanter’s closest “friends and companions”, given that he signed only his first name to the letter which he never did with his other correspondences.

He asked them to first encourage each other in their efforts to persuade the masses to study Mussar, and to then seek the support of the great rabbinic leaders with the assumption that that will clearly pave the way for success. (The truth be known, while a number of the greatest scholars of the time did encourage Mussar study, others did not for various reasons that are beyond the scope of our concerns here, and which partially explains the difficulties the Mussar Movement encountered.)

He added that they they were to remember that by encouraging others to study Mussar they were “conferring merit upon the community” by giving them a chance to improve themselves that way, and that they weren’t to take that lightly. After all, without the fear of Heaven, which is a major element of Mussar, one’s Torah studies and mitzvahs are “mechanical and nearly without any spiritual content”. So they were very fortunate to have had the “magnificent gift from the Almighty” that is the mitzvah of spreading Mussar study fall into their laps.

And the second letter was written to elaborate on the topic of bolstering a community’s Beis Midrash and, in the process, of “support(ing) its ‘neglected little sister’”, the Mussar House. Providing Mussar Houses would enable a “sensitive soul to be moved enough to enter” one when he’s inclined to grow and draw close to G-d.

Ever the teacher, R’ Salanter reminds his disciples here to not pressure others to do everything at once when it comes to all of this. His disciples were to be “flexible rather than obstinate” -- “easygoing in the demands (they) make of” others. “Press too hard”, he warns them, “and you will repulse (those you hope to influence) and turn them away from Mussar”.


 

Text Copyright © 2010 by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman and Torah.org

Rabbi Feldman's new book, Bachya Ibn Pakuda's The Duties of the Heart, is now available! Order Now


 






ARTICLES ON KI SEITZEI AND ELUL / ROSH HASHANAH:

View Complete List

“CSI: Who Are You – Jew, Who, Jew, Who?”
Jon Erlbaum - 5771

Don't Forget to Say Thank You
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5762

It's War in There
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5766

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Rosh Hashanah
-

Thanks to Egypt
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5760

The Extended Family Called Society
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5766

ArtScroll

To Begin--to Cook from Within
Rabbi Label Lam - 5766

Overlook It When You've Been Wronged
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5759

The Wayward Son - What Can He Teach Us?
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5758

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Perfect Bliss
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5769

Q & A Regarding Rosh HaShana
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

The Mystical Tug of the Shofar
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5766

> Where there's a Cause, there's an Effect
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5757

Gratitude - A Hereditary Trait?
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5757

Looking to the Future
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5764

Guardian of the Mouth
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5759



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information