middot / midot / mee-dote / #character
Mussar is a biblical Hebrew word from the book of Proverbs 1:2 meaning moral conduct, instruction or discipline. According to the mussar movement (which arose in 19th century Lithuania), we are each born with a range of moral traits that are called middot.
At a time of year that is focused on thankfulness, and in a social and political climate that may cloud our ability to be thankful, a focus on the middot can help us strengthen ourselves to make positive change in the world.
Gratitude: We must remember to be grateful for what do have even when life isn’t exactly what we hope for. This is the essence of Thanksgiving, and a core component of being human.
Humility: While it is easy to be arrogant, it is far more difficult to be humble. The strongest people are humble because they recognize that each of us plays a role in the larger world. The more we focus on the strengths of others, the greater we are as individuals and as a community. We should be thankful for each other, and the ability to be stronger together.
Creativity: Whether or not you are an artist, we each see and react to the world through our own eyes and our own creativity. It is this creativity and appreciation of others’ that is essential to bringing change into the world.