-------- Original Message --------
|Subject:||Re: AishDas and Mussar|
|Date:||Fri, 09 Mar 2007 15:25:40 -0500|
|From:||Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer <firstname.lastname@example.org>|
|To:||Micha Berger <email@example.com>|
|References:||<firstname.lastname@example.org> <200702271523.l1RFNNN17754@panix2.panix.com> <email@example.com>|
I have trained my 10th grade talmidim at MTA to think about everything along the Chassidish/Litvish divide, further subdividing Lita into Brisk vs. Mussar. They know my biases, in some cases share them, in some cases reject them (and, to be honest, some are apathetic). I wish someone had let me know about this kind of stuff when I was in 10th grade, and I hope that this "early start" will facilitate their growth in ways that our dor did not acquire when we were in HS.
Micha Berger wrote:
Mussar is the pursuit of meaning, not a particular answer to the question. This is why Kelm could have secular studies in their high school, while the Alter of Novhardok wrote about the collapse of the Jewish "city" and the need to retreat to the citadel of the Yeshiva. Or the famous distinction between N's "ich been gornisht" vs Slabodka's "gadlus ha'adam". The only alternative to Mussar is chassidic ecstatic experience. IOW, either one pursues meaning that is based on thought and experience, or one that is based on experience for which thought is a second layer. I chose the former for AishDas. Not the least because the experiential route is already covered by others, but primarily because I'm too into philosophy to be engaged by the alternative. But both RYBS and R' Yaakov Kaminecki independently discuss the loss of the "erev Shabbos Jew", using the same example (!) to describe the loss of emotional backing to observance. I highly recommend reading R' Elyakim Krumbein's Musar for Moderns. He relies on sources that reflect the primarily "Anglo" MO community in Israel, ie his typical student in Gush -- RYBS, R' Kook, some Tanya and Likutei Maharan (think ChaBaKuK). The lifestyle he is giving a Mussar foundation to is MO. Mussar is a broader concept than the one path taken by Tenu'as haMussar. One can use their tools to deepen pretty much any hashkafah. Exceptions might be Bretslov and Izbitch, which eschew any of the kind of thinking which could complicate experience. Probably also Brisk, and the belief that "der bester Mussar seifer iz a blatt gemara" -- no need to attacking Mussar's goals directly. Just look at the huge gap between my philosophy and RYGB's. I'm into RSRH, REED, the Maharal, the Kuzari, the Aristotelian rishonim. RYGB is citing Qabbalah and Rav Tzadoq. Both of us agree, though, on the need for a head-on attack of the job of becoming the kind of person idealized In short: I grabbed on Mussar as a tool to work on the heart. It doesn't conflict with the range of philosophies to which one aims that heart.