The Mussar Torah Commentary: A Spiritual Path to Living a Meaningful and Ethical Life

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Product Code: 88.33544

ISBN: 978-0-88123-354-4

Edited by Rabbi Barry H. Block
Foreword by Alan Morinis, DPhil
Introductory Essay by Rabbi Lisa L. Goldstein

This Mussar-based commentary is a vital resource for Torah study, offering a thoughtful analysis of each of the 54 weekly parashot. Each essay in this anthology brings a parashah into juxtaposition with one of the Mussar middot (character traits as described within the Jewish school of ethics called Mussar), thereby providing an applied lens of Mussar teachings that helps us to delve deeper into our tradition with increased mindfulness and intention.

FINALIST: National Jewish Book Award (Contemporary Jewish Life and Practice category)

Table of Contents
Contributor Bios

Read an Excerpt

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"The Mussar Torah Commentary looks to the Torah as the source of fundamental guidance for human living, and each of the authors draws out relevant and practical lessons from the Torah that are applicable to the lives that you and I are living."
- Rabbi Alan Morinis, DPhil

"Thanks to the diverse, insightful authors assembled in this commentary, those who engage in Mussar study and practice will discover in this volume a valuable means to deepen their exploration of the middot manifest in the weekly Torah portion. Those who are new to this topic will find in an informative introduction and helpful guide to the middot and Mussar literature. For all those who engage in Torah study, this Mussar-based commentary should be added to the resources relied upon to shed new meaning on our most ancient, sacred text."
- Rabbi Andrea Weiss, PhD, Provost, HUC-JIR

"In this fine collection of essays by a rich and diverse array of Jewish thought leaders, Rabbi Barry Block and his contributors shine the probing light of Mussar on the texts of each weekly Torah portion. A map towards holiness emerges here, with guideposts like simplicity and silence, patience and awe, judgement and compassion. This is a volume of enduring gifts: these stimulation and accessible commentaries will help us better understand Torah, Mussar and ourselves"
- Rabbi David Stern, Senior Rabbi, Temple Emanu-El, Dallas, TX

"A brilliant approach to the weekly Torah portion through the Mussar lens! Block has created a structure allowing both those new and experienced with the Mussar to explore the sacred text of Torah in a fresh light and bring the teachings and practice of the Mussar into one's daily like. These chapters fulfill the highest goal of Torah study, to alloq the text to transform us."
- Rabbi Mary L. Zamore, Executive Director, Women's Rabbinic Network

"In Pirkei Avot, The Ethics of the Sages, Ben Bag Bag says of Torah: "Turn it and turn it again, for everything is in it." And yet often our study of Torah views our sacred text one dimensionally: we consider it the story of our people - which it is - and draw imperatives from it on the themes of responsibility to God, the Jewish community and the wider world-with which it overflows. But The Mussar Torah Commentary helps us consider the text in another light: not only as our people's story, but also as the story of every one of us. Each weekly portion can guide our own spiritual and moral growth. These brilliant essays explore the deeply personal qualities to which we aspire and through which we build lives of meaning and beauty."
- Rabbi Joshua Davidson, Senior Rabbi, Temple Emanu-El, New York City

"The Mussar Torah Commentary: A Spiritual Path to Living a Meaningful and Ethical Life is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, synagogue, community, college, and university library Judaic Studies collections and supplemental curriculum reading list."
- James A. Cox, Midwest Book Review

"Readers who are already familiar with Mussar's principles will find The Mussar Torah Commentary an additional way to incorporate them into their lives. Those who want to learn more about Mussar will see how those principles can be used for Torah study. Anyone, like myself, who loves reading Torah commentaries with a different focus will find The Mussar Torah Commentary an excellent addition to their bookshelf."
- Rabbi Rachel Esserman, The Jewish Observer

"The Mussar concepts discussed here additionally provide insights into the development of the human spirit over time, and they offer readers ways to connect to the Torah on a personal ethical and behavioral level, to cultivate their own character, and to improve their life. Even though this is a CCAR publication, Jews of all affiliations and non-Jews will find this book meaningful. The book is written for everyone who wants to integrate ethical and moral concepts into their understanding of the weekly Torah portions.This book is highly recommended for personal, synagogue, and academic libraries."
- Daniel D. Stuhlman, Association of Jewish Libraries

ISBN 978-0-88123-354-4
Copyright © 2020
6" x 9"
Page Count: 400