Cheshbon = accounting, Ha = the, Nefesh = soul. An accounting of the soul is the process by which you evaluate your spiritual progress. There are many different ways to perform a cheshbon hanefesh. It is preferred in mussar practice to do one every day. It is also common in mainstream Orthodoxy to do one at the beginning of every month. It is also widely practiced in the month of Elul, leading up the new year (Rosh HaShana)
Seclusion. To be "alone with oneself", referring to the daily practice and tradition of speaking openly to God and also loosely structured verbal meditation. The practice was popularized by Rebbe Nachman of Breslov.
A step. From the verb dereg, to rise in grade, step by step. Plural = madregot
|Middah (pl. Middot)||
A character trait. Middah literally means "measure" and therefore there is an understanding that you measure your level in any trait. While traditional texts may list anywhere from 13-30 traits, there are in fact an infinite number of character traits that could be refined.
A collection of homiletic interpretations of Scriptures by the Sages of the Mishnah.
First codification of the Oral Law in writing. Compiled by Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi and all the Tanaim of Israel in the third century (CE - Common Era).
Starting on the second day of Passover we count 7 weeks until the evening of Shavuot. The counting represents the days between the Israelites leaving Egypt and receiving Torah at Mount Sinai. It is a time used to reflect on raising ourselves up spiritually, to move from being confined to narrow places to a nation that is free to choose the Torah path of growth. (Omer was a measure of barley offered in the Jerusalem Temple at Passover).
|Pirkei Avot (also called Avot)||
Tractate of the Mishna within the order of Nezikim dealing with ethics.
An inclination to do bad (move further away from HaShem). The Yetzer HaRa exists both within your own mind/body and also outside. An outside manifestation might be someone telling you to do something bad. An inner manifestation could be you taking that outside direction and justifying how it would be good to do.