Climbing Jacob's Ladder: One Man's Journey to Rediscover a Jewish Spiritual Tradition

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Shambhala Publications, 2007 - Religion - 225 pages
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Jewish by birth, though from a secular family, Alan Morinis explored Hinduism and Buddhism as a young man. But in 1997, in the face of personal crisis, he turned to his Jewish heritage for guidance. In his reading he happened upon a Jewish spiritual tradition called Mussar. Gradually he realized that he had stumbled upon an insightful discipline for self-development, complete with meditative, contemplative, and other well-developed transformative practices designed to penetrate the deepest roots of the inner life.

Eventually reaching the limits of what he could learn on his own, he decided to seek out a Mussar teacher. This was not an easy task, since almost the entire world of the Mussar tradition had been wiped out in the Holocaust. In time, he found an accomplished master who stood in an unbroken line of transmission of the Mussar tradition, and who lived in the center of a community of Orthodox Jews on Long Island. This book tells the story of Morinis's journey to meet his teacher and what he learned from him, revealing the central teachings and practices that are the spiritual treasury and legacy of Mussar.

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User Review  - Shmuel510 - LibraryThing

I found this to be fascinating, but not for reasons that would apply to most people. This book, you see, concerns the discovery of Mussar—which is more or less a Jewish approach to ethical matters ... Read full review

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Amazing and provides great insight into the human soul


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The Gate of Holiness
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The Gate of Fear of
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The Gate of Working in the World
The Gate of the Duties of the Heart
The Gate of Deep Within
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About the author (2007)

Alan Morinis completed his doctorate at Oxford University, which he attended on a Rhodes Scholarship. A producer of award-winning television and film, he has been a student of the Mussar tradition since 1997, studying under Rabbi Yechiel Yitzchok Perr. Alan is the founder and director of the Mussar Institute (, an organization that promotes the study of Mussar through study groups, courses, and public talks. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with his wife and two daughters.

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