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Thought for the Day: Importance of Renewed Review and Daily Seder in Mishnayos and Mussar -- Not an Option

Recently I received one of the biggest compliments of my life.  I saw a colleague wearing a Cubs jersey, so I asked her if they won last night.  She replied, "Yes, that makes it 3-3; so there is only one more game to play."  I told her that I actually do know enough about baseball to realize that the World Series (a deliciously "ugly American" ugly title, since it only US teams play in it) is best of seven.  I also thanked her, though, for thinking that I wouldn't know.

That little ego boost (yes, I was seriously flattered) was particularly nice just now, as I once again began Mishna Brura last week.  I have learned the first siman more than once.  I have heard shiurim on that siman.  I also have a chavrusa that began just a few years ago and we are going through very carefully and meticulously; we learned that siman together.  Surely, I reasoned, a review at this point is going to be boring; what more could I possibly learn?

Sigh....

I have already learned three significant new things on just the first siman; two of which are changing my daily behaviour.  When I say "new", of course, I mean things that I have obviously seen each and every time that I have learned that siman, but somehow it didn't register/resonate with me enough for me to remember.  Of course, I would like to remember everything I learn, but: (1) I already have historical evidence that I haven't been retaining everything I learn; (2) just saying, "this time will be different" won't work any better for me than "there's alway next year" (aka, TANY) worked for the Cubs for 104 years till now.  I have therefore decided that this time I will, bli neder, learn the באר הטיב and שערי תשובה along with the Mishna Brura.  Since I need to add something and since the Mishna Brura (who was not a wealthy man) deemed it worth the cost of dedicating upwards of a third of the available real estate on the page, I figure I can't go too wrong with this one.

So what did I learn that has changed my daily behaviour?  First, that the first obligation one has in his daily learning is a seder in mishnayos.  The Ari z"l notes that the same Hebrew letters comprise the words משנה and נשמה/soul; indicating that the learning of mishnayos builds a connection between one's soul and his Creator.  Second, one must absolutely have a fixed seder to learn mussar texts every single day.  In fact, notes the Mishna Brura in the Sha'ar HaTzion, that seder in mussar is even more fundamentally important than the learning of mishnayos.

I can hardly wait to see what tomorrow brings...

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