Open Graduate Vaad Launched

Last Sunday night we launched an open Vaad for graduates and fourth year students.  The Vaad is an open, free forum for all in our community who do not have a regular Vaad to support their Mussar pactice.  Our immediate goal is to contain (Kibbush) and transform (Tikkun) the Yetzer Ha-Ra unleashed globally, societally, and personally by the corona virus pandemic.

I want to share a take away from our work. All of us in the Vaad had experiences of being triggered at the global, national and personal levels and examples of all the times we’d felt judgmental, or witnessed others acting ’stupidly, angrily, etc..”.   

When we first began speaking, we did not use the language of Mussar. We used emotional language—fear, anger, and hurt. When we switched to using Mussar language with recognition that the other was coming from Yetzer HaRah or that we were—the effect was different. The emotional language heightened our feeling reactions. Labeling our reactions as Yetzer HaRah reminded us that both we and the others were triggered and that our responsibility as Mussarniks is to stop (practice Kibbush) and when possible transform (practice Tikkun) the Yetzer into Tov.  

These were powerful reminders of the usefulness of our practice. We can call Yetzer HaRa triggering—a “barchu moment”—or a call to prayer. What if whenever we realize we are coming from Yetzer HaRa, we accept it as a “call to prayer,” a “call to holiness?”  What if the presence of Yetzer HaRah signals that here is a moment calling for a holy response, a time for inspired action, for being there for an other?  May we remember our Middot and rise to those occasions.

During the vaad, we opened with a Dvar that asked us to think about the difference between a Ner Tamid (Eternal light/candle) and an AIsh Tamid (eternal fire). Each of us then recited our Ner Tamid, and held the Yetzer HaTov energy as one of us transformed a Mussar moment.

If it would be helpful for you, please join us this Sunday night as we reconnect with each other and  affirm the value of a Vaad that helps us return to or retain a semi-permeable Nefesh with Neshama flowing freely —  

A Zissen Pesach to all.  

Beulah Trey
Mashgiach Ruchani
Director of Curriculum

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