Rabbi Yisrael Ben Ze’ev Wolf Lipkin (of Salant) was the founder and spiritual father of the Mussar movement. The movement taught techniques for spiritual and character growth. He held positions as the “mashgiach” (spiritual mentor) in a yeshiva, and as the head of a Yeshiva in Vilna. He went on to establish his own Yeshiva. There he began to spread the doctrine of Mussar, a moral movement based on the study of traditional ethical literature. Rav Lipkin founded a Musar Yeshiva in Kovno as well as a Kollel for young married students.
Salanter moved to Germany and then to France in order to disseminate Judaism and Torah. Some of his revolutionary ideas included the compilation of an Aramaic-Hebrew Dictionary – for better understanding of the Talmud, translating the Talmud into Hebrew, and the teaching of Talmud in universities. Rav Lipkin’s most well known work is “Iggeret ha-Musar”, the Ethical Letter.