Judaism nurtures our purpose in life to make this world a better place. Central to the work of repairing the world (tikkun olam) is the individual cultivation & repair of soul traits (tikkun middot). The practice of Mussar is the work of refining, tuning and fine tuning the quality of our character (middah).
Middah of the Month = Kislev (December): Awe (Yir’ah)
Rabbi Avraham Elya Kaplan – Yirah may be likened to the tremor of fear which a father feels when his beloved young son rides his shoulders as he dances with him and rejoices before him, taking care that he not fall off. Here there is joy that is incomparable, pleasure that is incomparable. And the fear tied up with them is pleasant too. It does not impede the freedom of dance … It passes through them like a spinal column that straightens and strengthens. And it envelops them like a modest frame that lends grace and pleasantness … If a person is sure that the “bundle” of his life’s meaning is safely held high by the shoulders of his awareness, he knows that this bundle will not fall backwards, he will not forget it for a moment, he will remember it constantly, with yirah he will safe keep it.
If every moment he checks it—then his heart is confident, and he dances and rejoices.