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Tools For Growth: Rav Naftali Amsterdam: Mussar

The 6th of Adar is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Naftali (ben Shlomo) Amsterdam, disciple of Rav Yisrael Salanter (1916). He immigrated to Eretz Yisrael in 1902. [Adar II]


“I devote two hours every day to the study of Mussar. In the morning I study ‘Sha’arei Kedusha, and an hour in the evening studying ‘Reishit Chochmah.’ It is this study that gives life to my heart, and happiness to my soul.

I divide each hour into two: I begin with half an hour of actual study, followed by a half an hour of introspection and meditation. The meditation is a form of “Service of the Heart,” on the level of prayer.

“There are times for intellectual study, and times for introspection and meditation. However, Mussar demands both to be effective.

“I picture my Rebbi, Rav Yisroel Salanter zt”l studying Mussar as I study, so I can remember the state one can and should reach when learning Mussar.” (Letter to His Son, “Ohr ha-Mussar,” #11)

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