Transforming Ethical Behavior: The Musar Movement and the Care of the Self

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Blackmer, Corinne E.
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R. Israel ben Ze’ev Wolf Lipkin, better known as Israel Salanter (1810-1883), was born in Zhogory, Lithuania. He studied under the ethicist R. Yosef Zundel, whose teacher had been the Vilna Gaon. As a young man, Salanter observed that many Jews were punctilious in ritual but not in ethical observance - that “tradition” had become inertia and habit, routine and indifference, and mechanical performance and unself-consciousness. Regarding the Torah as the source of virtuous human relationships, he believed all the mitzvot were equally important. He found inspiration in the humble and ethical behavior of Zundel and the Vilna Gaon, and modeled himself after them. He became the principal founder and architect of the Musar Movement, which radiated from Lithuania, Poland, and Russia in the 19th century to much of the Ashkenazi Jewish world in the 20th.
Ethical Behavior, Jews, Musar Movement, Lithuania, history, article
Blackmer C. E. Transforming Ethical Behavior: the Musar Movement and the Care of the Self / Corinne E. Blackmer // Judaica Ukrainica : Annual Journal of Jewish Studies. - 2014. - Vol. 3. - P. 24-36.