The Art of Listening

Day 3:
What is Mussar?

שְׁמַע בְּנִי מוּסַר אָבִיךָ, וְאַל תִּטֹּשׁ תּוֹרַת אִמֶּךָ (משלי א ח)

Listen, my son, to the discipline of your father, and do not 
forsake the teaching of your mother. (Proverbs 1:8)

Meaning to pay close attention.

The most important part of mussar (guidance) is listening. When a person really listens and concentrates on what people tell him, this wakes him up. He begins to understand that what they are saying is correct, and he accepts the mussar.

“The discipline of your father”
Rashi explains that in his book of Proverbs, King Solomon is referring here to the basic texts and rules of God’s Torah as recorded in the Oral and Written Law, which were given to Moses at Sinai.

“The teaching of your mother”
Whereas this is referring to the additional fences and safeguards which the Rabbis introduced in every generation, in order to keep the people far from sin.
(Summary from A Letter for the Ages, p. 25)
Click on image to see the letter in Hebrew and in English

Daily Sources

Daily Reading

The Meaning of the Shema by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

“Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is one..” These words are the supreme testimony of Jewish faith. Each word is worthy of careful study, but it is the first – the verb Shema – that deserves special attention.

Read More

Bonus Material

Daily Goals

In Judaism faith is a form of listening: to the song creation sings to its Creator, and to the message history delivers to those who strive to understand it. Today, stop looking: listen. Stop speaking: listen. Create a silence in the soul. Still the clamor of instinct, desire, fear, anger. Strive to listen to the still, small voice beneath the noise. Then you will know that the universe is the work of the One beyond the furthest star yet closer to you than you are to yourself – and then you will love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your might. In God’s unity you will find unity – within yourself and between yourself and the world – and you will no longer fear the unknown.

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