Mussar books are a great way to begin or expand your Mussar knowledge.
True, Mussar is a practice and as such how we behave is key. However, book learning is important in order to teach us the key concepts and behaviors we should focus on. Here are some of the key Mussar books to help you on your journey. Note: this is a page in progress. We’ll be adding images, links, and reviews over time.
Mussar books for beginners
These are great first Mussar books. They are also very good for ongoing Mussar practice.
Click on any book to go to Amazon.
|Everyday Holiness: The Jewish Spiritual Path of Mussar, Alan Morinis, Trumpeter Books, 2007.
|The Spiritual Practice of Good Actions: Finding Balance Through the Soul Traits of Mussar by Greg Marcus, Llewellyn 2016. This book is the embodiment of American Mussar practice. Learn More
|Climbing Jacob’s Ladder: One Man’s Rediscovery of a Jewish Spiritual Tradition, Alan Morinis, Broadway Books, 2002.
Modern Mussar books for ongoing study
|A Responsible Life: The Spiritual Path of Musar, by Ira F. Stone, Aviv Press, 2006.
|Every Day, Holy Day: 365 Days of Teachings and Practices from the Jewish Tradition of Musar, by Alan Morinis, Trumpeter Books, 2010.
Specialized Modern Mussar Books
Classic Mussar Books
Duties of the Heart (Chovot HaLevavot) by Rabbi Bahya ibn Paquda (11th century)
Path of the Just (Mesillat Yesharim) by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto translated by Yosef Liebler. I also like the version with commentary by Rabbi Ira Stone
The Ways of the Righteous (Orchot Tzaddikim), by an anonymous (probably female) author
The Palm Tree of Deborah (Tomer Devorah) by Rabbi Moses ben Jacob Cordovero. Free HTML Version here.
Accounting of the Soul (Cheshbon HaNefesh) by Rabbi Menachem Mendel Lefin of Satanov (19th century)
Pele Yoetz by Rabbi Eliezer Papo was published in Constantinople in 1824. Visit Peleyoetz.com, an amazing free resource.
Mussar Books About Key People
Sharing the Burden: Rabbi Simhah Zissel Ziv and the Path of Musar by Geoffrey D. Claussen SUNY Press, 2015
Not Mussar Books Per Se, but Key Books for Jewish Wisdom
Sage Advice: Pirkei Avot with translation and commentary by Irving (Yitz) Greenberg. Koren Publishers 2016
Rebbe: The Life and Teachings of Menachem M. Schneerson, the Most Influential Rabbi in Modern History by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin. Harper Wave 2014. Read a review here.