Here’s my latest contribution to RivertonMussar.org. Separation, or pure living, is a vital part of mussar, the Jewish pursuit of ethical transformation. But it’s suspect in today’s world because we disdain the holier-than-thou variety. Yeshua models a life of both separation and connection.
Separation begins within, as Messiah taught in one of his most famous—and challenging—sayings: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matt. 5:27–28). Likewise, Cheshbon HaNefesh instructs us, “Strengthen yourself so that you can stop lewd thoughts,” because defilement begins in the mind.
But how do we strengthen ourselves?