Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Ohr Yisrael: R’ Salanter’s Innovations (3)

What separates the simply talented from the brilliant in each and every art, science, and skill-set is endless repetition of physical and mental exercises. Only then does one go from being competent to being as nearly perfect and well-honed as he can be. What R’ Salanter realized was that that also goes for the ability to grow in one’s being. In order to excel spiritually we have to polish and repeat our efforts again and again, too.

So he advised us to engage in this exercise: we’re to repeat to ourselves over and over again certain aphorisms that touch us and lay out a truth clearly and succinctly until they become engraved in the tablet of one’s heart. That is, until they become our mottos for life. Do that whenever you have a spare moment night and day, and “the statement will ring in your ears like a bell and never depart from your memory” he assured us.

Imagine constantly and earnestly repeating this verse that refers to putting your trust in G-d’s decisions in your life: “Place your hope in the L-rd. Be strong and let your heart take courage. Yeah, place your hope in the L-rd” (Psalms 27:14). With that and other such maxims on your lips all the time you can’t help but sense G-d’s effusive presence in your life.

Or imagine what repeating the verse, “G-d created Man in His image, in the image of G-d He created him” (Genesis 1:27) would affirm in your being about your G-d-given abilities and purpose. Say other such verses (as well as certain like Talmudic statements) often enough and in a heart-felt way, and you can’t help but assimilate their wisdom and to grow.

In fact, we’re assured that R’ Salanter himself engaged in this practice his entire life long. As R’ Blazer reports in his recollections of his teacher, “R’ Salanter would (ordinarily) study Mussar texts with great fervor, in a delightful voice that stirred feelings of solemnity” in those who overheard him. In the middle of that, though, he’d oftentimes “stop his studies to focus on a certain statement and to repeat it again and again” along the lines of what we’d cited above. And he’d sometimes “burst into tears” in the process, touched by the rank truth of what he heard himself saying.


 

Text Copyright © 2010 by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman and Torah.org

Rabbi Feldman's new book, Bachya Ibn Pakuda's The Duties of the Heart, is now available! Order Now


 






ARTICLES ON NETZAVIM AND VAYEILECH:

View Complete List

Afraid to Miss the Parade
Rabbi Label Lam - 5763

So It Is Written
Rabbi Label Lam - 5765

“Stay Alert...Stay Awake...Stay Alive!”
Jon Erlbaum -

ArtScroll

Rosh Hashana and the Kiss of Life
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5773

Centrality of Torah
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5760

Repentance or Excuse?
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5761

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Wake Up, and Choose Life
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5758

After the Ashes
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5761

No More Excuses!
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5758

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Lessons to be Learned from the Jealousy of Moshe Rabbeinu
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5766

Paying Attention to the Voice of the Almighty
- 5767

School of Soft Knocks
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5756

> Hester Panim
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5770

Moshe Rabeinu's Last Day
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5758

Going For Gold
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5771

No Excuse Not To 'Do Teshuvah'
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5761



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information