2013-11-29

Weekly musar lecture

Last week I started participating in a weekly musar lecture by Rabbi Naftali Weinberg in Jerusalem ("musar" means '(Jewish) ethics' in Hebrew). The lecture itself is fascinating, and the topics discussed there touch my soul deeply, but the way I got acquainted with the rabbi is no less interesting.

Every shul, including ours, receives copies of various weekly Torah bulletins. It did not take me a long time until a bulletin called איש לרעהו caught my attention; it is different from many other bulletins I have read in that it focuses on one aspect of Judaism that is often neglected even by otherwise frum Jews and is not covered by many other bulletins - Jewish ethics, or issues of interpersonal relationships from the Torah perspective. About a year ago I finally got acquainted with the author of this bulletin in our shul, and about a few months ago I found myself sitting in front of him to consult him about some serious problem in interpersonal relationships I had been experiencing with a certain group of native Israelis. Since then I had been corresponding with him by email, until I was invited to participate in his weekly musar lecture last week.

Until I joined his weekly lecture, I was feeling that the positive spiritual energy I had saved in the yeshiva on sabbatical last year was running out. Having started in participating in this lecture, I feel that I have been reconnected to a source of positive spiritual energy on a regular basis. I also benefit from this lecture at least in two other ways in addition to its thought-provoking content.

Both Rabbi Weinberg himself and his lecture neutralize the negative effect brought about upon me by the insensitivity of so many native Israelis with whom I have to cope constantly now that my sabbatical has ended and I cannot live any longer in an English-speaking ghetto.

Another benefit is that I know that I have someone knowledgeable about Torah and human psyche whom I can consult on a regular basis when necessary. I have come to a conclusion that the root of many of the problems I have been experiencing in the Israeli society is the insensitivity of many native Israelis, which manifests itself in various, sometimes, totally unexpected, forms. I simply do not want to react to these manifestations of insensitivity in an equally insensitive way, thus becoming like one of these insensitive people myself. And the lecture itself is meant to develop, among others, sensitivity to others, including insensitive people.

What I would like to develop through this weekly muser lecture by Rabbi Weinberg is becoming a source of positive spiritual energy for myself, in addition to positive character traits, so that my internal light may not be weakened by most insensitive people.

PS: Any Jewish man in Jerusalem who is interested in participating in this lecture is welcome to email me for further details. The lecture is in Hebrew, though the rabbi himself is a native speaker of English.