What is Mussar

רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן עֲזַרְיָה אוֹמֵר, אִם אֵין תּוֹרָה, אֵין דֶּרֶךְ אֶרֶץ. אִם אֵין דֶּרֶךְ אֶרֶץ, אֵין תּוֹרָה

Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah said: Where there is no Torah, there is no right conduct; where there is no right conduct, there is no Torah.

(טו) שַׁמַּאי אוֹמֵר, עֲשֵׂה תוֹרָתְךָ קֶבַע.

(15) Shammai used to say: make your [study of the] Torah a fixed practice;

(א) בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים אֵ֥ת הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וְאֵ֥ת הָאָֽרֶץ׃ (ב) וְהָאָ֗רֶץ הָיְתָ֥ה תֹ֙הוּ֙ וָבֹ֔הוּ וְחֹ֖שֶׁךְ עַל־פְּנֵ֣י תְה֑וֹם וְר֣וּחַ אֱלֹהִ֔ים מְרַחֶ֖פֶת עַל־פְּנֵ֥י הַמָּֽיִם׃

(1) When God began to create heaven and earth— (2) the earth being unformed and chaotic, with darkness over the surface of the deep and a wind from God sweeping over the water—

(א) וַיְדַבֵּ֣ר יְהוָ֔ה אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֥ה וְאֶֽל־אַהֲרֹ֖ן לֵאמֹֽר׃ (ב) אִ֣ישׁ עַל־דִּגְל֤וֹ בְאֹתֹת֙ לְבֵ֣ית אֲבֹתָ֔ם יַחֲנ֖וּ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל מִנֶּ֕גֶד סָבִ֥יב לְאֹֽהֶל־מוֹעֵ֖ד יַחֲנֽוּ׃ (ג) וְהַחֹנִים֙ קֵ֣דְמָה מִזְרָ֔חָה דֶּ֛גֶל מַחֲנֵ֥ה יְהוּדָ֖ה לְצִבְאֹתָ֑ם וְנָשִׂיא֙ לִבְנֵ֣י יְהוּדָ֔ה נַחְשׁ֖וֹן בֶּן־עַמִּינָדָֽב׃
(1) The LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying: (2) The Israelites shall camp each with his standard, under the banners of their ancestral house; they shall camp around the Tent of Meeting at a distance. (3) Camped on the front, or east side: the standard of the division of Judah, troop by troop. Chieftain of the Judites: Nahshon son of Amminadab.

Midrash Rabbah:

Moses responded to God saying: " “If I tell Yehuda to camp in the east, they will say they want the south, and so it will be with each and every tribe.”

רָשָׁע מָה הוּא אוֹמֵר? מָה הָעֲבוֹדָה הַזּאֹת לָכֶם. לָכֶם – וְלֹא לוֹ. וּלְפִי שֶׁהוֹצִיא אֶת עַצְמוֹ מִן הַכְּלָל כָּפַר בְּעִקָּר. וְאַף אַתָּה הַקְהֵה אֶת שִׁנָּיו וֶאֱמוֹר לוֹ: "בַּעֲבוּר זֶה עָשָׂה ה' לִי בְּצֵאתִי מִמִּצְרָיִם". לִי וְלֹא־לוֹ. אִלּוּ הָיָה שָׁם, לֹא הָיָה נִגְאָל:
Which is the wicked son's question? "What mean you by this service?" (Ex. xii. 26.) When he thus says You, he purposely excludes himself, and so rejects one of the principles of Judaism. Therefore mayest thou retort upon him by quoting (Exod. xiii. 8), "This is done because of that which the Lord did for me when I came forth from Egypt." For me (thou canst say), and not for him; if he had been there he would not have been redeemed.

(יג) רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן אוֹמֵר, הֱוֵי זָהִיר בִּקְרִיאַת שְׁמַע וּבַתְּפִלָּה. וּכְשֶׁאַתָּה מִתְפַּלֵּל, אַל תַּעַשׂ תְּפִלָּתְךָ קֶבַע, אֶלָּא רַחֲמִים וְתַחֲנוּנִים לִפְנֵי הַמָּקוֹם בָּרוּךְ הוּא, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (יואל ב) כִּי חַנּוּן וְרַחוּם הוּא אֶרֶךְ אַפַּיִם וְרַב חֶסֶד וְנִחָם עַל הָרָעָה. וְאַל תְּהִי רָשָׁע בִּפְנֵי עַצְמְךָ:

(13) Rabbi Shimon says: Be careful in the reciting of Shema (and praying). When you pray, do not make your prayer fixed, rather prayers for mercy and supplication before the Omnipresent, blessed be He, as it says (Joel 2, 13), "For He is gracious and merciful, long-suffering and full of kindness, and repents of the evil." And do not be wicked in your own eyes.

ר"א אומר העושה תפלתו קבע אין תפלתו תחנונים

MISHNAH: Rabbi Eliezer says: One whose prayer is fixed, his prayer is not supplication and is flawed. The Gemara will clarify the halakhic implications of this flaw.

Rav Simcha Zissel once went to visit his son Nachum Zev, then a student in a distant yeshiva. The first thing the father did was visit his son’s room. On inspection, he found the boy’s possessions in order. From this alone, he could tell that his son was doing well in the yeshiva. Only then did he go to see his son.

(א) בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה'. אֱלהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעולָם. אֲשֶׁר בִּדְבָרו מַעֲרִיב עֲרָבִים. בְּחָכְמָה פּותֵחַ שְׁעָרִים. וּבִתְבוּנָה מְשַׁנֶּה עִתִּים וּמַחֲלִיף אֶת הַזְּמַנִּים. וּמְסַדֵּר אֶת הַכּוכָבִים בְּמִשְׁמְרותֵיהֶם בָּרָקִיעַ כִּרְצונו. בּורֵא יום וָלָיְלָה. גּולֵל אור מִפְּנֵי חשֶׁךְ וְחשֶׁךְ מִפְּנֵי אור. וּמַעֲבִיר יום וּמֵבִיא לָיְלָה. וּמַבְדִּיל בֵּין יום וּבֵין לָיְלָה. ה' צְבָאות שְׁמו: אֵל חַי וְקַיָּם תָּמִיד יִמְלוךְ עָלֵינוּ לְעולָם וָעֶד: בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה', הַמַּעֲרִיב עֲרָבִים:

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the universe, who speaks the evening into being, skillfully opens the gates,
thoughtfully alters the time and changes the seasons, and arranges the stars in their heavenly courses according to plan.
You are Creator of day and night,
rolling light away from darkness and darkness from light, transforming day into night and distinguishing one from the other. Adonai Tz’vaot is Your Name.
Ever-living God, may You reign continually over us into eternity.
Blessed are You, Adonai, who brings on evening.