The Jewish Spiritual Practice of Becoming a Good Person
Mussar or Musar (מוסר) is an authentic Jewish spiritual development system that dates back nearly 1000 years, but came into its best known form in in 19th Century Lithuanian. It explains each person has a unique “soul curriculum” and our lives are fulfilled when we understand and explore it. Moments life are where we have the opportunity to test ourselves and grow are called bechirah (בררה) or choice point moments. Bechirah moments are where you have to make a real choice in life, and you get to discover your spiritual growth (or not).
The practice works to change us spiritually by changing behavior. The practice consists of soul-inventory of any number of lists of soul-traits, middot (מידות) in Hebrew, to see how balanced they are within you.
Then each day, week, or month, track how a single one is working in your life. Then look for bechirah or choice point moments and what choice you make. That’s how you grow. It’s only when we’re forced to make active choices that we are growing spiritually. And sometimes — that super sucks. And sometimes we realize that what we’re learning isn’t something we want to or would chose to — and this is the last thing we want to hear is that it’s our “soul’s curriculum.”
The practice has changed my life. If you want to learn more — head over to https://devotaj.substack.com/p/mussar-intro, purchase my Mussar Practice Ebook, and then register for one of my monthly Soul Trait Studio Sessions to dive in.