Daily "Chitas" Tanya

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Enthusiasm as a Noun

Questions for today:

If the impact is the same, what difference does my enthusiasm make?


Today's Tanya continues on the theme of supporting the communities in Israel, and giving charity. 


Today we’re not explaining the 'impact' of giving charity, but the 'way' that we give charity. 


One of the defining moments in history was the binding of the akeidah where Abraham showed his willingness to sacrifice his son


The sages say this wasn't such a defining moment because of the 'sacrifice'. Abraham had already been willing to be thrown into a furnace, and millions through history defined their religiosity through martyrdom. 


What was defining about this moment was Abraham's 'enthusiasm’, and how quickly Abraham fulfilled this instruction. Abraham bound the donkey on his own, etc. 


And therefore the Tanya says, even though this difference won’t impact the recipients who are only going to get the money once a year through the messenger that goes to Israel


Nevertheless, as a giver, show your enthusiasm


When Shabbos comes, give. At least once a month, give. 


This enthusiasm will impact this mitzvah - whose reward and advocacy is something that we could feel in this physical world - and that is something we could use every single day.


290 70 Tanya Chitas thought for Tishrei 13 ~ m311 63 Tishrei 11

Tanya book 4, Essay 21, pt1


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Seeing G-d’s Back

Questions for today:

If anything that can be pictured or described will never define me, how can we get to know someone (or in our example, G-d) if we can only see physical, measurable, things?


When we speak about Moses prophesying the ‘external intellect of the world of Atzilus’ - that's all the commandments of the Torah. 


When you see me sweeping the floor, that's 'me'. However, it's nothing compared to the part of me you see when I'm 'speaking' about sweeping the floor. 


My speaking, is nothing compared to when I'm 'thinking’, which is nothing compared to my 'emotions' which are nothing compared to the depth within me of my 'soulful intellect'


When we see the creator expressing itself to the Torah, the most external component is the physical actions of the commandments.


Within those physical commandments are the Creator's purpose and intellect. 


We see here both parts of the verse that we used describing the torah; the 'Ohr', 'Kasalma'. The undefined, internal 'light' of the Creator, as well as the material 'detailed clothing’ together which, connect us to the Creator. 


279 59 Tanya Chitas thought for Tishrei 2 ~ m297 50 Elul 27

Tanya book 4, Essay 19, pt3


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Supernal Glue

Questions for today:

Aside from being innately one with the Creator, G-d also gave us a bridge to feel that connection despite the great spiritual-physical divide. How does this bridge work?


When we want to connect two opposites we have to have something in the middle that has a little bit of both


For example, when the Soul wants to have an emotional experience, we have to ‘think’


Thought is partially spiritual, partially specific, this allows our spiritual Soul to experience emotion. 


Today's Tanya opens with a verse that describes the Torah as our connection to the creator. We reference a verse that teaches that the Torah is both; 'Ohr' and, 'Kasalma' - partially a 'light', partially a 'specific clothing'. 


[In preparation for the expansion of this idea in the coming days, we ask a question.] 


The one that helps us bridge that divide, by revealing the Torah to us, is Moses. The Zohar teaches that Moses' comprehension was able to reach to the external intellect of the highest world of Atzilus. 


This is intriguing, because we find later scholars comprehending and explaining worlds much higher than that. 


How is it possible that later scholars were able to comprehend higher than Moses?


277 57 Tanya Chitas thought for Elul 29 ~ m295 48 Elul 25

Tanya book 4, Essay 19, pt1


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Homing Instinct

Questions for today:

If my Soul is an actual part of the Creator, how can my natural homing instinct be dulled? What can I do to unblock it?


Yesterday we spoke about two inner innate expressions of the soul; desire and pleasure.


We focused on a pleasureful love which is what happens when you 'have', and are one with, the Creator. 


Today we're going to discuss about a love that's born out of desire


We don't have to create this love. We all have it naturally because our soul is part of the Creator and has an innate yearning to reunite with its source.


However, we do have to work on this love. This is because that innate desire could be misdirected into all types of irrelevant things.


To overcome this, we have to consciously think how the Creator didn't just 'create' the world in the past. The creator 'actively creates' and animates the world, and the Creator 'is' the life that animates me.


This thought motivates a huge desire, a yearning, that all of my effort should be focused towards connecting to the Creator.


It also gives a tremendous push that anything that's distracting or selfish, that blocks my relationship to the Creator, should be removed from my consciousness.


276 56 Tanya Chitas thought for Elul 28 ~ m294 47 Elul 24

Tanya book 4, Essay 18, pt2


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Inner Love

Questions for today:

What metric can I use to measure if the love that I’m feeling is my personal experience, or if it’s a wonderful thing that’s happening outside of me, and I’m participating in it?


Today's Tanya discusses a verse that describes “how beautiful and how sweet it is, ‘ahava beta’anugim’ - a pleasurefull love.


There are two types of love; a desirefull love and a pleasurefull love.


What’s the difference?


Firstly, both desire and pleasure are internal


Let’s look at these in contrast to thought. Thought happens inside of me, but it’s about something else outside of me. If you and I are thinking about an equation, we are both thinking the same ‘thing’.


By contrast, my desire and my pleasure are both ‘me’.       


My desire is not a thing, it’s ‘me’ ‘wanting’ a thing. If you want a car, and I want a car, your desire is a feeling inside of you, and mine is a feeling of mine, despite the fact that the object of our desire is the same. 


Similarly, Pleasure is the inner experience of you or me ‘having’ the object of our desire.


Tomorrow we are going to discuss desirefull love.


Today we’re going to discuss the pleasurefull love where I ‘have’ the Creator, I’m one with the Creator.


This is something that is impossible to achieve with human achievement. As we’ve discussed many times, no matter how high I achieve, my achievement will always going be limited and defined by my limits and characteristics.


To have this pleasurefull love, being one with the Creator, is something that I can prepare for my whole life, but it can only happen as a gift from above.


275 55 Tanya Chitas thought for Elul 27 ~ m293 46 Elul 23

Tanya book 4, Essay 18, pt1


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For Myself, For Everyone

Questions for today:

How does the awareness of the fact that everything that I have come from the Creator impact my perspective regarding my resources?

How can I both appreciate the Creators specific designation, without losing my universal awareness?


Today's Tanya gives a very important perspective on the benefits and responsibilities assigned to us, from the resources that the Creator provides for us


The Talmud tells us that if I’m walking in the desert with a glass of water and it's just enough for me to get to civilization, I'm not obligated to share that with somebody no matter how critically they need it.


However, that example specifies that I’m not going to survive if I share


There is another legal precedent described in the Talmud. There was a town with an irrigation well, and the water flowed through their town and on to the next


The first town gets priority for the water rights - only if both towns are using the water for the same purpose. 


If the first town is using the water to wash their clothes and the second town needs it for drinking, the second town can claim the rights to that water. 


I need to keep this idea in mind when I allocate the resources that the Creator provides to me. 


If I have somebody that is dependent on me for basic survival - like the communities in the land of Israel at the time of this letter - that comes before any luxury that I want to add in my life.


270 50 Tanya Chitas thought for Elul 22 ~ m289 42 Elul 19

Tanya book 4, Essay 16, pt1 


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Think Connection

Questions for today:

If our intellect draws us to the Creator, can we dissect that? How can we connect to something higher than ourselves? How can we feel it in a personal and compelling way?


What brings out the soul’s desire to connect to the creator? 


That feeling is created and maintained by the intellect, which has different characteristics; When I’m ‘aware of’ a G-dly concept which is shining in all its glory, but I don't understand it yet, we call that Chochmo.


When I bring that concept down through examples, details, I understand it - we call that Bina


Neither of those bring any emotion. They're ideas I'm thinking about, they're not me. 


When I connect to it personally we call that Das – and this connection brings all types of emotion; 


When I realize that the Creator made the entire world, that brings awe. When I realize the creator is greater than creating the world, that brings a very humble awe


When I realize the Creator is my lifeI feel love. When I realize that the Creator is greater than my lifeI feel a humble love


All of the above is a constant expression of the feeling of connection which we call Das. 


In fact, it is possible to have ‘Das’-connection to the Creator's very motivation for creating the world - which then expands itself into every detail of our full emotional spectrum.


269 49 Tanya Chitas thought for Elul 21 ~ m288b 41b Elul 18b

Tanya book 4, Essay 15, pt4 


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Love Languages

Questions for today:

If Divinity is so supernally aloof from us, how is it that we were able to explain the Creator’s attributes on such a relatable level?


When we started out this letter, we pointed out that our soul is an inner part of the Creator. Because of this we are able to understand divine things. 


Yesterday when we spoke about the Divine attributes, they seemed like things that we could relate to naturally without that Divine link.

This is because we were looking at the way those attributes are in our lives. In that mode, they're just a hint of the way they are in our Soul, where they're all a bridge for us human beings to connect to the Creator;


Our attribute of kindness is a way for us to become one with the Creator by e.g. imitating the creator's hospitality, or visiting the sick. 


Our Judgment is a way for us to avoid negativity or get rid of it. 


Our attribute of Beauty is a way for our soul to be inspired by the Creator’s beauty. 

Our Resilience is a way for us to get rid of and overcome anything that tries to stop us.


Our attribute of Glory, allows our natural intellect to be able to understand and appreciate the Creator by thinking of the fact that every single part of the world is of, and by, the Creator. 


Yesod’ and ‘Malchus’ are a way for us, in our lives, to grab hold of, to connect to, and to serve the Creator with love and fear.


268 48 Tanya Chitas thought for Elul 20 ~ m288 41 Elul 18

Tanya book 4, Essay 15, pt3 


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Questions for today:

We learned all of the ‘midos’, the variable attributes that the Creator imbued in the world. However, surely there are other aspects that impact the variability that we experience?

What is it that drives the various levels of passion and connection that we experience?


They tell the story of a teacher who on the last day of class closed the books and told the students this is going to be the most important lesson.


He filled a pot with potatoes. He asked the class, is the pot full? and they said yes.


He shook in some beans, and asked again, now is it full? Again they said yes.


He added barley, then spices, then topped it off with water. Finally the class were sure - now it's totally full.


The teacher said, we are still missing the most important ingredient - the fire.


We learned yesterday about every divine and human attribute. 


Today we learn about the inner ingredients; the love, and the concerning fear, that drive our attributes towards others


What ignites that fire? That's our intellect


Specifically, the compelling intellectual component of Das.


In fact, the precise measurement of compelling Das a person has, that is the exact amount of inner love and fearful energy will be in each of our attributes, driving us towards the other.



267b 47b Tanya Chitas thought for Elul 19b ~ m287 40 Elul 17

Tanya book 4, Essay 15, pt3 


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Complex Yet Clear

Questions for today:

The vast complexity of existence is ultimately a reflection of a singular Creator. How can I view the full spectrum of existence in a single, homogeneous, array?

Today we learn an overview of all of the Creator's attributes, the 'midos'

Let's highlight two opposites which reoccur in three sets;

When 'my love' inspires me to give to somebody whether they deserve it or not, that's 'my generosity', we call that "Chessed".

When I judge whether the 'recipient' deserves or not otherwise they don't get, that's "Gevurah", It's about the recipient. 

When there's a beautiful blend between my generosity (not limited to their deserving) and their needs (empathetic to them), that's mercy. We call that "Tiferes"

When I try to add growth to reach beyond myself, I use that same formula, only in the realm of intellect

I begin with an idea that's brilliant, yet I don't understand it yet. We call that "Chochmo". When I understand it in my logic, will call that "Bina" - corrosponding opposites of 'source' vs 'recipient'

If the brilliance of the 'idea' compels 'me', we call that Das

Then comes the third set, taking all of the above and making it practical; 

If I can overcome any obstacle, that's 'my resilience', we call that "Netzach". If I can get 'the opposition' to agree with me, that is called "Hod"

If I could take my resilience 'and' give the others something concrete that they could grab on to, we call that "Yesod", and I've accomplished something.

267 47 Tanya Chitas thought for Elul 19 ~ m286 39 Elul 16

Tanya book 4, Essay 15, pt3 

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The Same, But Different

Questions for today:

How do we straddle the opposing realities of how on one hand, our understanding of Divinity is not a ‘message’, but actual Divinity, and at the same time, so completely different?


Yesterday, we gave an introduction to understanding the divine characteristics. We described how the Creator breathed of the Creator's very inner self to become our soul. 


Because our Soul is actually Divine, we could use our life as a metaphor to understand these divine characteristics. Not only that, but this Divinity of our Soul gives us the ability to grasp these divine concepts.


Today we give another introduction. 


When Abraham described himself as 'dust and ashes' it wasn't just being humble, it was also descriptive. 


When you look at ashes compared to a tree, they're not ‘similar’ – the ashes are the ‘actual substance’ of the tree, with the energy, liquid, and gases removed. 


When the Torah uses a metaphor, for example, Abraham's love, it's not just 'similar' to the creator's attributes – like the ashes, it's the creator's very attributes, brought down to a level we can understand


On the flip side, when you compare the ashes to an actual tree, they're not just quantitatively smaller they're completely different


Similarly, when we use these metaphors to understand the Divine attributes, they're not just quantitatively less, they're an entirely different realm.


266 46 Tanya Chitas thought for Elul 18 ~ m285 38 Elul 15

Tanya book 4, Essay 15, pt2 


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Understanding Ourselves

Questions for today:

How can our minds possibly grasp, in fact, ‘know’, the Creator?


In this letter we're going to understand the divine characteristics called Sephiros. 


Before we begin, how is it possible for the human mind to grasp something that's Divine?


This is an important question because Maimonides doesn't describe an obligation from the Torah to 'believe' in the creator, the obligation is to 'know' the creator. 


In fact, Maimonides teaches that it's impossible to love and fear the creator without some ‘knowledge’ of the creator. 


To answer this, this letter brings a verse in which the Torah tells us we could use our flesh and blood as a metaphor to understand the creator.


In fact, we're reminded that our soul is imbued into us by the creator - breathing from the creator's very inner self into us. Our soul is a product of the creator's wisdom which is part of the creator and develops into us. 


This doesn't just explain how it's possible for our flesh and blood to be a metaphor to understand the creator, but also how our intellect is capable of grasping Divine concepts.


265 45 Tanya Chitas thought for Elul 17 ~ m284 37 Elul 14

Tanya book 4, Essay 15, pt1 


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Turn Off, Then Turn Back On Again

Questions for today:

How can we constantly rekindle our love for the land of Israel?

What is different in the ability to reenergize between a physical substance, and something living off of spiritual energy?


We mentioned yesterday that if you can feel part of your body, that part of the body is probably weak or sick. 


Specifically when the body is humble and we can't feel it, that's when it's most alive and feeling human life which includes inspiration, wisdom, intellect.


The life force of land of Israel is similar to that form of living, therefore, unlike Egypt which has a constant ‘physical’ source of sustenance, which is the Nile, Israel is constantly humbly reliant on rain.


This is why the Torah teaches that G-d's 'eyes' are constantly on the land of Israel. Eyes are synonymous with wisdom. Sages are called the 'eyes' of the population. 


Because of this vast difference between inner G-dly life and the substance of the land, there is an entirely different method of life allotment. G-d doesn't just give Israel a little extra energy every year. 


Each year G-d takes away all of the G-dly life that goes into it, which allows for a completely new, reinvigorated, G-dly life that was never there before.


Knowing this, our love and our support for the land of Israel should also be renewed and reinvigorated each and every year.


264 44 Tanya Chitas thought for Elul 16 ~ m283 36 Elul 13

Tanya book 4, Essay 14, pt2 


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Subtle Life

Questions for today:

How can we constantly rekindle our love for the land of Israel?

We tend to think of more or larger living things as an expression of more life. What if it’s the opposite?


One of the big emphases in these letters is the love and support for the land of Israel. 


In this letter we're specifically focusing on how to really rekindle this love year after year. 


To help with this, let's take a look at how life works in general. 


A person is physical, made of muscle and bone. By contrast, the life inside the person is spiritual. 


In fact, when we think about a person's life we don't think about muscle, we think about their inspiration or thought. 


In fact, the less we feel our body the healthier and more full of life we are - If I feel my arm it's probably because my arm is feeling sick.


This concept, where the humility of the physical emphasizes more spiritual life, is something we see very strongly in the land of Israel.


The Creator tells the Jewish people when they go into the land of Israel that it's not like Egypt that had a constant physical flow of life and sustenance from the Nile. 


Life in the land of Israel depends on the humble human-G-d interaction, through rain.


263 43 Tanya Chitas thought for Elul 15 ~ m282 35 Elul 12

Tanya book 4, Essay 14, pt1 


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Measured Greatness

Questions for today:

Our belief directs us to see the Creator in every item in creation. What about all styles of service? What ladder to the Creator can we find in a person who’s devotion is expressed through meticulous, measured, service?


Today's Tanya shares something that should be obvious when we think of how everything in the world comes from the same Creator, but nevertheless it's so revealing that it's a surprise. 


When we see somebody giving generously, or studying Torah for an extra hour, then another hour, we assume that that’s their soul shining.


Today's Tanya explains a verse in psalms to teach us that actually, there are two opposite characteristics that are 'both' a divine expression; the person giving generously, and the opposite, a person that's giving in a measured way, or studying on a strict schedule. 


In fact, while we intuitively think that it's the one that's giving generously and learning more that is more spiritual, let's look at two ways of looking at this division that will give another perspective. 


-       When 'I'm giving' generously, it's about me. However, when I'm 'measuring'it's about the other person.

-       When I'm giving generously it's 'my identity' that's shining. When I'm 'analyzing' it's the part of my soul that experiences 'the world beyond our self' that's shining.


260 40 Tanya Chitas thought for Elul 12 ~ m281a 34a Elul 11a

Tanya book 4, Essay 11, pt1 


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