In Praise of Mussar and its Importance
by Yechiel Sever
In response to a directive of Maran the Rosh Yeshiva HaRav A.Y.L. Shteinman, Maran HaRav Chaim Kanievsky and Maran HaRav Gershon Edelstein to conduct mussar shmuessen in kollelim, a number of important talks were given last week.
In a special sichah at Ateres Shlomoh in Modi'in Illit, HaRav Moshe Hillel Hirsch, rosh yeshivas Slobodka and a member of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah, said that the duty of a ben Torah is not to be satisfied with what he has, but to grow and grow. "If one prays today the same as he prayed two years ago, it shows that he has not grown. It is the same with middos which everyone must be concerned about, as well as gemilus chassodim. Without learning mussar, a person can be a ba'al gaivoh his entire life while being certain that he is an onov."
At a shmuess at Ateres Shlomoh in Beit Shemesh, HaRav Dovid Cohen, rosh yeshivas Chevron and a member of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah, said: "In our time it is not possible to remain dovuk to Torah and to control one's yetzer without learning mussar, which enables a person to be among those who rule their yetzer. It is a great tikkun to renew the emphasis on learning mussar and mussar shmuessen in the kollelim, since it is the foundation of true Torah life and control of the yetzer. Without that it is impossible to maintain oneself in this period, when darkness covers the land and the tumah and the taavas and yetzerim surround us on all sides. Only in this way will we reach the level of controlling our yetzer and this us the idea of tzaddik be'emunoso yichyeh."
HaRav Avrohom Erlanger, a rosh yeshiva of Kol Torah, spoke in Ateres Shlomoh in Bnei Brak. He said, "Every ben Torah must have a regular time for learning mussar. The yetzer hora fights this very strongly because by learning mussar one can kill the yetzer hora. Especially for ahavas Hashem one should learn the "Shaar Ahavah" of the Chovos Halevovos. The Griz said that every word of the Chovos Halevovos has chochmoh, lev and kedushoh. We pray in Ahavah Rabbah that we should come to hear, learn, teach, keep, perform and fulfill and the words of talmud Torasecho be'ahavah. This means that all parts of the Torah, Shas Bavli and Yerushalmi, Safro, Sifrei, the Medrashim and the holy Zohar we should merit to learn them all with ahavoh."