What is Mussar?
Mussar is a Jewish wisdom tradition, the purpose of which is to help us bring ourselves into better balance. “Mussar refers to a spiritual perspective and also a discipline of transformative practices.” … “It shines a light on the causes of suffering and shows us how to realize our highest spiritual potential.” (Alan Morinis)
The goal of Mussar practice is to release the light of holiness that lives within the soul. The roots of all of our thoughts and actions can be traced to the depths of the soul, beyond the reach of the light of consciousness, and so the methods Mussar provides include meditations, guided contemplations, exercises and chants that are all intended to penetrate down to the darkness of the subconscious, to bring about change right at the root of our nature. (www.mussarinstitute.org)
What are Middot (“middah” is singular, “middot” is plural)
The word “middah” means a “measure.” In Mussar practice it is translated as “soul trait” or “character trait” such as equanimity, tolerance, order, purity, humility, brilliant awareness, justice, . . . Middot are not inherently positive or negative. They are on a continuum. The goal is to bring your middot into balance (in proper measure), clearing away the shmutz that prevents your light from fully shining in the world.
Mussar Practice vs Mussar Work?
Mussar practice includes daily text study, including Torah, Talmud, and classic Mussar Texts, daily reflection through meditation and journaling (chesbon hanefesh/soul accounting), and daily "traces on the soul" through chanting (hitpa'alut) and exercises (kabbalot). It is done in private as well as with a study partner (chevrutah) and/or a study group (va-ad).
Mussar work happens in the day to day circumstances in your life and how you respond to them.
My Mussar Chants
Along my Mussar journey I have created a number of chants for the different Middot I have studied.
Click on the buttons below to find chants for each Middah.
A few of them are produced tracks with instrumentation, but most are just simple recordings of me singing.
Additional Mussar Resources