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What is Mussar?

Mussar is a medieval Jewish genre of literature. It is also an ancient method of self-transformation. By studying its texts and following its spiritual practices, we can change bad habits, release anger and impatience, gain hope and inner calm, and become the person we most want to be .

What does It have to do with CMT?

Mussar is a powerful way to change our perspective on ourselves and others. It teaches us values to live by and grounds our actions in principles. It can help us gain compassion, view all human beings as children of God, and listen and show respect to others.

Mishkan Tefila has used the changes the congregation has experienced over the past few years to embark on a process of self-reflection. We are creating a new set of values that will shape a rejuvenated culture of respect, inclusiveness, creativity, warmth, humility, holiness, gratitude and positivity.

How will Mussar help our community?

This year, at the Annual General Meeting, the community chose 6 traits, or middot, that will guide our thinking and our behavior throughout the year ahead. The middot are:

Savlanut (Patience)
We need to cultivate patience as we thoughtfully and steadily build a renewed CMT. We also need patience with the construction!

Hakarat HaTov (Seeing the good)
It is too easy to focus on the negative in life, and what isn’t perfect. It takes effort and practice to cultivate looking for the good and gratitude. Hakarat Hatov helps us be optimists instead of pessimists.

Simcha (Joy)
Joy is different than happiness. According to Mussar, happiness is fleeting. It comes and goes. Joy is a state of mind, a way of being. Joy is a decision to see the world as hopeful, even in the midst of challenges. Joy is letting go of cynicism and being open to miraculous moments of blessing.

Kavod (Respect)
Each person is treated with kavod, especially when we disagree with them. Every person is a child of God. Kavod requires that we listen respectfully and seriously to others, and appreciate a variety of perspectives.

B'tzelem Elohim (Made in God’s image)
Each of us is a precious soul. You are loved by God,and so is your adversary. ‘Be swift to greet a child of God.’ Welcome each person who walks in the door of CMT as one who is especially created by God. Give to yourself the same compassion The Divine Parent would give a child.

Zerizut (Enthusiasm or Determination)
In the Torah, everyone helps build the Mishkan.
So too with us. Everyone here has a contribution to make to create our holy community. This is the year to step up, be engaged, offer to share a task, join a committee, bring a skill or ideas, contribute financially—
whatever interests you. Zerizut is needed to make a dream come true.


In 2019, Congregation Mishkan Tefila sponsored Boston's  first annual Mussar Conference.  200 people came together to learn and pray.   Check back here often for updates and exciting announcements!  Please fill out the contact form below to get email updates.


Mussar with Rabbi Plumb

Every Tuesday, Rabbi Plumb teaches a weekly Mussar class. In October, Rabbi Plumb will initiate monthly and twice monthly Mussar classes to help those interested in learning more about Mussar.   To sign up or get more information, please fill out the form below or contact Yael at

Click here to register for Foundations of Mussar

Click here to register for Intermediate Mussar

Click here to register for Mussar for Our Soul



Mon, September 25 2023 10 Tishrei 5784