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Have you heard of Alan Morinis?
Easily one of the nicest guys I've met.
Having done time in Marin, California, he now lives in Vancouver and has started a Jewish movement.
Alan has this great personal story.
By profession, he was an anthropologist, specializing in pilgrimmages.
And as a middle-aged Jewish male, Alan was looking up and down for meaning.
He tried everything.
Then he stumbled upon an obscure Jewish book that talked about something called "mussar". He loved what he read, and wanted to know more.
But he didn't know where to go.
He noticed that the book had been endorsed by a certain rabbi in Brooklyn. There was no information about this rabbi, but there was a phone book. Alan found him and asked if he could visit.
Over the next several years, Alan commuted from Vancouver to New York. He sat at the proverbial feet of his mentor - his rebbe - in order to absorb what he could and change his life.
From this learning came:
• Three books: Climbing Jacob's Ladder (partly a memoir of his journey), Everyday Holiness, and Every Day Holy Day.
• An organization with a mission to educate the world about mussar.
• Thousands of lives changed for the better.
So this all leads to two questions for your table:
1. Does spiritual greatness require a pilgrimage or quest, or can it be done at home?
2. What would get you to fly across the country to study with a rabbi?
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