||Homilies by R. Israel b. Zev Wolf Lipkin (Salanter) (1810–1883), founder and spiritual father of the Musar movement. His father, author of the glosses Ben Aryeh on the Talmud and rishonim, served as rabbi in Goldingen, Latvia and Telz, Lithuania, and he was later appointed rabbi of Zhagare, where Israel was born. At the age of 12, Israel went to the yeshivah of R. Zevi Hirsch Broida in Salant, and his reputation there was such that his teacher referred to him as "the little Alfasi"; other great contemporary scholars applied similar laudatory appellations to him. His chance meeting with R. Zundel of Salant, who though a great scholar was an unusually humble and modest man, had a decisive influence on him. Powerfully impressed by R. Zundel's personality, R. Israel attached himself to him, regarding him from then on as his principal teacher, and conducting himself according to R. Zundel's ethical principles. He refused to accept rabbinical office, even that of Brest-Litovsk - the major community in Lithuania.
During his whole life, R. Israel Salanter sought the best way in which to influence the community. Deciding to become a preacher or a mashgi'ah ("spiritual mentor") in a yeshivah, he accepted the position of head of a yeshivah in Vilna, where he was quickly renowned for his profound acumen. He soon resigned this post, however, and established his own yeshivah in Vilna. When his fame spread he began to preach sermons giving expression to the doctrine of musar, a moral movement based on the study of traditional ethical literature. These sermons attracted huge audiences. He proceeded to found groups for the study of musar on the lines of various ethical works. With the consolidation of these groups he established a special institution called a Bet Musar, in which he delivered his musar discourses and these became the pattern for similar discourses delivered in all the yeshivot of the Salanter school. These discourses were never recorded apart from several individual ones published by his pupil R. Shneur Zalman Hirschovitz in Even Yisrael (1883).
In general R. Israel Salanter was revolutionary in his ideas. He proposed the compilation of an Aramaic-Hebrew dictionary for the better understanding of the Talmud, the translation of the Talmud into Hebrew, its printing in one volume, its translation into European languages, its teaching in universities, and the provision of religious books in Russian. R. Israel Salanter was also active in the communal and political spheres. He left no large works. He published an article in the Ez Peri (1881) and a number of articles from Tevunah, were later collected in a special work called lmrei Binah (1878). His well-known lggeret ha-Musar ("ethical letter") was first published in Koenigsberg in 1858 and repeatedly republished. A collection of his discourses recorded by pupils was published under the title Even Yisrael (1883); letters and collections appeared in various organs such as Beit Yisrael, Hut ha-Meshullash, etc.