Monday Mussar Moment

Mussar Monday

~~ SHA White Board ~~

The holidays are behind us and it is time to get ourselves reoriented. Reoriented to what? Aha! To our theme for the year…SHA: Where We Belong! and to our SHA commitment to this critical element of our mission:

“We develop students of character and integrity”

One practice that we have at SHA, is to bring our Mussar tradition into our daily work.

Wondering what Mussar is all about? Here is a  link to an article about it  and here is a wonderful website and devoted exclusively to the practice of Mussar created and led by Alan Morinis. – which has much more information.

For us, here at SHA it will look like a new Middah introduced every week with a connection to “belonging” towards the goal of helping us build an SHA community of belonging.

This week’s  Mussar Middah sheet,  click here – Mussar Belonging Paitience  starts us off. By all means open it or even print it and discuss it with your family. If we talk about these values at school and at home – wow!

Please let me know your thoughts –comment here on this blog or email me about how you were able to put some of these into practice. I know, for myself, after creating the sheet on Patience – I paid a lot of attention to being patient all day yesterday and today!

I deeply believe in the effectiveness of Mussar and its potential for changing someone’s life – it has mine.





SHA: Day of Giving!


Visiting with dear friend, Mrs. Ann Birulin at the Summit — good times!

A number of years ago after agreeing to spend the night in the Sukkah with the Kletenik children I awoke to an epiphany.

[ Epiphany as in; a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience]

I was cold. There was dew on my face. There was an ache in my back.

Sukkot is a holiday that teaches us to remember our travels through the desert and the protection that the Israelites experienced from the Almighty. It was a forty year lesson that has lasted a very long time. By the grace of G’ go we.

My epiphany that morning was that we need to deeply feel what it might be to not have a home and to not sit at a table of bounty.

Indeed, Maimonides teaches in his, Yad HaChazaka Hilchot Yom Tov 6:18,

 …When a person eats and drinks in celebration of a holiday, he is obligated to feed strangers, orphans, widows, and others who are destitute and poor. In contrast, a person who locks the gates of his courtyard and eats and drinks with his children and his wife, without feeding the poor and the embittered, is not indulging in rejoicing associated with a mitzvah, but rather the rejoicing of his gut.

And with regard to such a person the verse, Hoshea 9:4 is applied: “Their sacrifices will be like the bread of mourners, all that partake thereof shall become impure, for they kept their bread for themselves alone.” This happiness is a disgrace for them…

And thus, Monday October 13, the Third Day of Chol HaMoed Sukkot,  every SHA student participated in our first “Sukkot Day of Giving.”  Each student being part of doing an act of Chesed, kindness. Some sang for residents at the Summit on First Hill some sang at the Kline Galland Home. Some bagged beans and rice for the Food Bank and some did so at Jewish Family Service. And our entire Middle School donated raised and gave of their own enough tzedaka money to purchase the beans and rice -exceedingly our goal by double!

It was a truly remarkable day for SHA.