Rabbi Israel Lipkin (Salanter) and the Musar Movement

Rabbi Israel Salanter (1810-1883)


Main Elements of the Musar Ideology

The Influence of the Musar Movement

Following Salanter's death the movement was directed by Rabbi Isaac Blaser (known as "Rabbi Itze'le Peterburger," 1837-1907) With considerable resistance, Musar study became a part of the curriculum of the important Lithuanian yeshivot, initially at Slobodka under Rabbi Nathan Zvi Finkel (1849-1927). The influence of Musar teaching was more deeply felt there perhaps than among the businessmen and traders, as Salanter had hoped.

The yeshivah would appoint a moral supervisor (mashgiah ruhani) who would hold a weekly musar lesson.

Particular strains of Musar developed. The most notable was that of Novaradok, known for its extremes: The young adherents of this school would go out of their way to place themselves in situations of public humiliation, by wearing rags and acting oddly, in order to overcome any sense of pride, which they viewed as the gravest of sins.

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