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The Path of Improvement


The Path of Improvement is the study of moral discipline in the quest for improvement, correction of character and personal growth through mussar. It is a pathway to the fulfillment of true happiness of life, since "the prime purpose of a man's life is to constantly strive to break his bad traits, and to improve; otherwise what is life for?" (Vilna Gaon. Even Shleimah 1:2) The Vilna Gaon writes: "All G-d's service is dependent upon the improvement of one's character ... most instances of good and misfortune in this world are dependent on character traits." (Even Shleimah 1:1,7) Evidently, striving for improvement of one's character traits should be of the utmost importance, the focal point of one's life-long existence upon this planet. The Path of Improvement is more than just a guide to self-improvement. It is much more than that. It shows how to use a kind word to our fellow man rather than a harsh reproach, a thoughtful word of guidance and mussar to correct our fellow neighbor rather than a condescending remark of callous rebuke. It teaches us to feel for our fellow brother and to love him as oneself, to approach him with wise and warm words of rebuke, words that will come from the innermost chambers of the heart. The Path of Improvement is a book about love and caring, sincerity and earnestness, attributes so direly needed to bring about achdus (unity) among Klal Yisrael.

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