If before Rosh Hashanah we want to accept upon ourselves to begin learning a mussar sefer, which sefer do you recommend?
A:I would advise, if you really mean business, to learn Mesillas Yesharim. Now, you may have a taste for other seforim, I’m not saying not, but Mesillas Yesharim you have to know is tried and tested. Generations have succeeded by means of that sefer. It has a tremendous effect.
When the Gra saw that sefer and he read the first eleven perakim he said that there’s not even one single unnecessary word in the first eleven perakim. He said that if the Mesillas Yesharim, if Rav Moshe Chaim Luzzato, was still alive in his days, he would walk on foot to Italy and make him his Rebbe.
So I would advise you, in case you don’t know what to do, to learn Mesillas Yesharim. You won’t regret it.
TAPE # E-157
How many times in one zman should a bochur finish Mesillas Yesharim?
Go slow with the Mesillas Yesharim. It’s a very deep sefer. The right way to do it is to say the words over and over again. Every line over and over again out loud. Say it out loud and slowly and think about the words until it sinks into your mind. Just reading it fast is not a waste of time but the real effect is only when you say it slowly; it penetrates your mind and becomes part of your personality. And therefore, if you want to do it right, you can’t do it so many times in one zman.
TAPE # E-234