Because some things can be said without music.

Some Events Turn Your World Upside-Down

This whimsical sculpture greeted me at the hospital entrance. I traveled across the continent to visit my Dad, and coordinate the changes in his care. It felt like driving this cab—I was supposed to be in control, but I wasn't. … Read more

E-You Wait!

Don’t Talk the Walk

Manhattan. W79th. Waiting for the light to change to cross Amsterdam Av. The DONT WALK sign announces its recorded warning, “Wait.” The man next to me grouses back at it, “E-you wait!” as he steps off…

Read more

Hin'ni — a Kavanah on Rosh Hashanah

Hin’ni.” Here I am. Why does our liturgy feature this kavanah, this intention-setting prayer, as a gateway to the repetition of the Amidah? It seems to fit on Yom Kippur, but why do we also recite…

Read more

You Turned Mourning into Dancing

My Dad’s health is declining, and I already mourn the loss. When he can, we view family photos, such as this one. Sometimes Dad perks up, recognizing faces, names, places, and events. Although many of the photos include images of…

Read more

Did you hear what Mordechai did?

The Purim story reminds us to use our words carefully. Think Purim is only about pastry, fun, alcohol, and noise? Read on. 

In chapter 3, Haman doesn’t notice that Mordechai won’t bow and scrape—until the courtiers tell him. Only then…

Read more

Be Like the Sun

From the start of Adar, we increase joy. Mishenichnas Adar marbin b’simchah. משנכנס אדר מרבין בשמחה [Taanit 29a] 

Adar is the month of Purim—a time of light and joy. Yet sometimes we might not feel so joyous. Maybe…

Read more

Kallah and Pearls

A dear friend reports one of her father’s rules: If you’re ever within 100 miles of a national park, just go. My adaptation of his rule: If you’re a Mussar student and within one time zone of TMI…

Read more

Soften and Bend

On the 8th night of Chanukah a group of friends gathered in our home to light the candles, sing the songs, play with spinning toys, talk, and eat. Together we lit 15 chanukiot, each with 8 lights plus 1…

Read more

Keep Adding Light 

The Talmud [in Shabbat 21b] records a debate regarding Chanukah: Bet Shammai say we start with eight lights and remove one each day. Bet Hillel say we start with one light and add one more each day. We follow Bet

Read more

18 Ways to Use Mussar Blues

Of course there are more, but 18 is enough for one post.

  1. Loop it on your phone or pocket music player.
  2. Sing along with the recording; sing it without the recording. 
  3. Sing it while you walk, bike, run…
Read more