Daily "Chitas" Tanya

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Granted A Hint

Questions for today:

We left off that the Creator’s ability for limited existence to unite with the infinite is beyond our ability to grasp. However, can G-d nevertheless give us a way to glimpse this?


We left off yesterday saying that the human mind can't understand that the divine characteristics which continue to give energy and substance to the physical world are still one with the infinite Creator.


For example, the kindness employed on the first day of creation and the strictness employed on the second, to create division – both of which operate in perpetuity - are unified within the Creator.


Though it is impossible for our minds to truly grasp this, the Torah speaks in a language that we can understand; it gives us an example to help us grasp this concept.


The sages describe these divine characteristics as light.


When a person walks away from a mirror, what happens to the person? Nothing. The mirror was always merely an expression of the person. Therefore, even when the image in the mirror is gone, the person isn’t impacted whatsoever.


We can expand this example:  Does sunlight exist before it comes down from the sun as a ray? Yes! Before it is a ray, it exists as sunlight within the sun; however, its existence is one with the sun.


This isn’t a perfect example because the Creator can’t be ‘defined’ as a luminary. However, it can still help us better understand this topic.


189 28 Tanya Tammuz 01~ M217 m27 Tammuz 4

Tanya book 2, Ch 10, Pt 1

Although we mentioned that the human mind can't grasp how the infinite Creator is one with His characteristics, the Torah speaks on our level and gives us some parables to help us understand.

It may seem like before sunlight shines down, it doesn’t exist because it is not in the form of a ray.

However, this is incorrect. The sun is defined as a luminary so the sunlight exists as part of the sun even before it comes down as a ray.

Of course, this is a remote example since the Creator has no definition, but it can still help us in our understanding.


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A Giant Leap For Man

Today on the leap year schedule is the 3rd of Tammuz, the day that commemorates the pinnacle of the Rebbe’s work in the physical world.

For more information, as well as customs etc. please see here:


Questions for today:

What are some things we can focus on to see aspects of Creation in this world?


In our journey to understand how an infinite Creator creates and is one with a physical world, we both; touch on deep topics, and we jump through leaps.


Today we will do a little bit of both.

Let’s discuss the deep ‘but relatable’ concept of contraction of G-dliness into the physical world.


There are three different types; first there is a contraction that allows for reality to exist.


Within that, you have what's called the supernal man, a contraction that gives rise to the ten variables where all physicality take shape.


Then, there is a contraction that's called ‘hair’ because like hair, no pain is felt when it is cut. This allows divinity to express itself in the world without any visibility of G-dly life.


Then we discuss a tremendous ‘leap’, an idea that's impossible to grasp with our mind, but is a logical necessity:


The idea is that these G-dly characteristics, even after they take shape and are defined in the physical world, still maintain a oneness with the infinite Creator.


188 27 Tanya Sivan 30 ~ m216 m26 Tammuz 3

Tanya book 2, Ch 9, Pt 3

Today we touch on three types of contractions that G-d uses to formulate the diverse physical reality.

We then emphasize a point that is beyond our grasp, but fundamental to our faith:

These characteristics, even with their physical definition, remain one with the infinite Creator


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I Just Can’t. Of Course.

Questions for today:

Continuing our pursuit: What exercise can we do to hope to fathom the greatness of the Creator?


There is a reason that the human mind can't grasp the Creator.


The pinnacle of physical existence is wisdom. We don’t mean that wisdom is the ‘best’ on a level field. Rather, we are saying that there is a hierarchy with one thing causing the next. The highest level in the hierarchy of existence is wisdom, intellect.


The hierarchy goes as follows: intellect ‘causes’ emotion. We can see this through how a little child with small intellect, will feel emotional about small things.


Next, emotion causes thought. We think about things ‘because’ we care about them.


Then, thought causes speech. When a person speaks, you can ‘see’ in the speech the thought it emanates from. The speech is different based on its source, be it; emotional, philosophical, or practical ‘thought’.


Speech causes action. Even if a person isn’t speaking about what they're going to do, speech represents a portal between our internal and external worlds.


Through action, we express the tiniest amount of our ‘self’. This is nothing compared to our self-expression through speech, which is nothing compared to through thought, which is nothing compared to through emotions, which is nothing compared to through our intellect.


With the power of the intellect in mind, let us remember that the intellect, like everything else, was created by G-d – as an object.


When we view this process, and bear in mind how our seminal origin is an ‘object’ to the Creator, we will understand why our intellect cannot grasp the true nature of the Creator.


Tanya book 2, Ch 8, Pt 2

Our inability to grasp the Creator is practical.

The highest level in the hierarchy of existence is wisdom:

Intellect causes emotion - children with small Intellect love small things

Emotion causes thought - we think about things because we care about them

Thought causes speech - you can hear in a person's speech their emotional source.

Speech causes action - Even if a person doesn't speak, speech is the portal between inside of ourselves, and outside of ourselves.

And all of these are nothing compared to the one above it; our "self" in action is nothing compared to it in speech, which is nothing to thought, to emotion, to Intellect

....and the Creator made Intellect as an object.


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It’s The Same Difference

Questions for today:

While our minds may not be able to fully grasp Divine greatness, what exercise can we do to help appreciate the Creator’s greatness?


We are studying that the human mind can’t grasp the Creator.


Yesterday, we learned that wisdom is the pinnacle of physical existence.


Today, we learn that the Creator creates wisdom, not like a blueprint or an idea. Rather, He creates wisdom in the same manner that we would use our hands to make a physical object that is completely outside of ourselves.


When we create something by hand, the creation only contains a tiny drop of ourselves.


This drop is nothing compared to how it is when we speak, which is nothing compared to our thoughts, which is nothing compared to our emotions, which is nothing compared to our intellect.


When we think about the ratio of our creative, physical, action vs. our seminal intellect, we can begin to see an iota of the scope between the Creator and ‘the very beginning’ of the seminal possibility of physical existence.


Of course, the Creator is infinitely above even these seminal levels.


186b 25 Tanya Sivan 28 ~ m214 m24 Tammuz 1

Tanya book 2, Ch 9, Pt 1

We are discussing how the human mind can't grasp the Creator.

We learned in the last chapter how wisdom is the beginning and the pinnacle of physical existence.

Today we learn that the Creator creates wisdom as a physical object.

When we observe the ratio between our wisdom and our physical action, we can begin to see a drop of the distance between the creator, and the beginning of the physical world.

- of course, the Creator is infinitely more levels removed, than that.


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Part of Me

Questions for today:

My thoughts are inside of me, but they are not ‘me’. Is there a more internal example of something truly part of me?


Today, we are expanding on the idea that the Creator is a completely singular, unblended entity. We learned that the Creator is one with His knowledge. Let's think about that.


If I think that two plus two equals four, it feels like the thought is part of me. But if you think that two plus two equals four, we're thinking the same thing. So, the thought isn’t me, it's something that I'm thinking.


Desire doesn't work that way. My desire is me being pulled in a direction. Therefore, if I want a piece of cake, and you want that same piece of cake, we are dealing with two different, distinct desires.


Nevertheless, desires are not intrinsically part of a person, they are separate and distinct from them. In other words, desires are almost like an added branch to a person. The Creator doesn't have any such additions; the Creator is a completely singular entity.


This concept of unity extends to the Creator’s wisdom, generosity, and everything that we know about Him. That being said, we need to remember as Maimonides explained, that the human mind can’t grasp such lofty, esoteric concepts.


Our inability to fundamentally understand this doesn't mean that we have to rely on pure faith. We can use our intellect to grasp the simple realization that we are very different from the Creator.


185 23 Tanya Sivan 26 ~ m213 m23 Sivan 30

Tanya book 2, Ch 8, Pt 1

Today we expand the concept of the Creator being a single, unblended  entity, to include everything we know about the Creator.

This includes everything from as high as the Creator's desire, to the Creator's intelligence, generosity, etc, etc.


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We Love Turtles

Questions for today:

How do we maintain a connection to a singular Creator, even as our existence reflects the Creator as “dressed up” in us?


Yesterday, we mentioned that because the Creator creates every detail and property of every physical thing, all of creation is personally humbled and one with the Creator.


Today, we go into some of the details of how from the ten utterances, myriads of specific physical creations came into being.


We discuss how some of the letters can change around and how some of the letters can switch for other letters. In addition, sometimes just the numerical value is the same, which is another level of G-dliness contracting from the ten utterances to fulfill some specific physical need.


We are reminded that no matter how much clothing the Creator dons to conceal His G-dliness, a physical, limited world couldn't exist without a divine energy with that ability to limit. Like a turtle, the Creator and the creative clothing are one and the same.


184 22 Tanya Sivan 25~ m211 m24 Sivan 28

Tanya book 2, Ch 7, Pt 7


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You Are Seen In Their Glue

Questions for today:

How can we be sure that the infinite Creator is ever present, even while allowing for a limited world to exist?


We're learning how, even though the Kisvei Arizel says that to create a limited world, the Creator did what's called 'Tzimtzum', a contraction, but that doesn't G-d forbid mean that there's any place that's absent of the creator.


In fact the Zohar itself says ’les asar panui minei’, there is no place empty of the Creator.


Now, the Zohar does say that ‘les man detofes bei’, nobody could grasp the Creator. When I can't grasp something, that thing is equally incompatible with me as well.


However, that doesn't mean that the Creator has that same mutual incompatibility.


True, the Creator might be 'stimu dechol stimin', the most secretive - but not because the Creator is not with me. In fact, that same part of the Zohar says that the divine presence is always visible.


We can see it through the fact that opposites in the world could come together productively. This is a standing testimony of the fact that the divine presence is there, uniting them.


183 21 Tanya Sivan 24 ~ m208 m21 Sivan 25

Tanya book 2, Ch 7, Pt 5


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Know-It-All, Therefore, Be-It-All

Questions for today:

One expression of ‘holiness’ and respect is exclusion. We express the holiness of eg. a Torah scroll by not ever bringing it into a place of impurity. This premise has led to centuries of debate. Does this principal also apply to the Creator? Is the Creator found in a place of idol worship, or in a restroom?


We learned that the creator is a completely single entity without any division whatsoever, even the Creator's own knowledge is one with the Creator.


With this in mind, we can close a debate that's been going on for centuries. When the holy Arizal explained how a finite world can be created, he used the term ’tzimtzum’, which means ‘contraction’.


There are those that translate this literally, that there are places in the world where the Creator is absent, and He is just looking at those locations from far.


However, this explanation is impossible because the Creator is one with the Creator’s knowledge. It is impossible for there to be something that the Creator ‘knows’, but is absent from. Therefore, the concept must be explained only metaphorically.


In fact, the Zohar says that the Creator fills the entire world in a similar way to how the soul fills the body.


The difference is that when the soul fills the body, it becomes assimilated in a contracted way, so that if the body is in pain, the soul suffers. The Creator fills the entire world and assimilates with every part, but without being affected or changed.


182 20 Tanya Sivan 23 ~ m207 m20 Sivan 24

Tanya book 2, Ch 7, Pt 5

...and since the Creator, and the Creator's knowledge, are one, it would be impossible to speak of any place "empty" of the Creator, which the Creator is only "aware" of.

And that is aside from the fact that such a description of something with a void would only fit a physical entity.

Like the soul to the body, the Creator fills the entire world. But unlike with the soul, the Creator is not affected [changed by] the world at all.


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Additional thoughts

The debate regarding whether the Creator ‘contracts’ literally or metaphorically is a long standing one. This concept is foundational and leads to many fundamental perspective variances in Jewish thought found across many schools of thought.

Today’s lesson is one of many that clarify with certainty that the only understanding that stands consistently with all Jewish principals is that the Creator is not actually ‘contracted’.

That being said, there are many righteous, learned, scholars who understood differently.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe -while strongly teaching the lesson taught here- defended their perspective. The Rebbe explained that although this and the many other lessons are intuitive, they maintained their perspective.

This was an act of intellectual self-sacrifice per say.

They understood that it was inappropriate to attribute the Creator’s presence into eg. the restroom. Therefore, they maintained this approach even against volumes of teaching and intuitive logic all pointing in the opposite direction.


G-d Knows Us, Not ‘Like’ Himself – With Self-Awareness

Questions for today:

We explained how a world can be existent and finite, while at the same very time, From the Creator’s perspective the division bringing about reality are immaterial. Now we can answer a fundamental, yet challenging verse. How can G-d say, “Ani HaShsem Lo Shanisi”, “I am G-d I have not changed”? Even if G-d is just watching what we do, wouldn’t that experience constitute a ‘change’?


We used the example of litigants and a judge to show that from one perspective, details could be relevant and very important, while to the other perspective, only the inherent law matters.


Let's think about that theologically. Maimonides says that the Creator and the Creator’s knowledge are one.


Human intellect can't grasp that. We are a conglomerate; information we get is added to us. We view past, present and future as very different from each other.


In contrast, the Creator is a completely single entity, so none of those details change anything for Him. The Creator’s knowledge doesn't change from a future prophecy, to the present awareness, or to a past memory.


This is what the Torah means when it says, “Ani Hashem, Lo Shanisi,” that G-d doesn't change. Even though the human mind can’t understand this, we can still know it to be real.


We can liken this knowledge to that of a flying airplane. Even if I don't understand the details of aerodynamics to answer the hows and whys, I could still see clearly that the flying airplane is the reality.


181 19 Tanya Sivan 22 ~ m206 m19 Sivan 21

Tanya book 2, Ch 7, Pt 4

After explaining how from one perspective details could be very real, yet from another, non existent, we explain a foundation of Jewish Theology:

The Creator, and the Creator's knowledge, are one.

Since the Creator "sees" everything with a "self awareness", the creator doesn't change - even changing tense, from future to past awareness.


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Humble Teamwork

Questions for today:

Perhaps understanding the supernal unity, where everything is one, is easier. How do we understand a oneness within a physical, divided, world?


We're learning about how G-d is one with the world on the supernal level, and on a lower level.


Yesterday, we used the analogy of people litigating in front of a rabbi. To the litigators, who wins and by how much, is very important. In contrast, the rabbi is looking at every intricate detail to ensure that G-d's will be done, but he doesn’t care which side wins.


This is analogous to the divine source. To G-d, past and present, up and down are irrelevant, and therefore they're all the same. This is the supernal level of unity.


For the lower level of unity, there is a created world, with a past and present, and an up and down which are important. The world exists, but there's still a unity, because they're created by, and humble to, a single Creator.


180 18 Tanya Sivan 21 ~ m206 m19 Sivan 21

Tanya book 2, Ch 7, Pt 3

Today we learn about the "lower unity".

In the lower level of unity, the variables of the world are important, and real.

However, they are all united in the sense that they are created by, and humbled to, One Creator.


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The Same Difference

Questions for today:

How can a world be both singular and divided at the same time?


Imagine two people litigating a chicken to the rabbi.


To the litigators, the chicken is very important. One of them will walk out with a chicken, and the other one will walk out with egg on his face.


To the rabbi, it doesn't matter if it's a chicken or a cow, and frankly, he doesn't care who wins. He is focused that G-d's will be done, whichever way it works out.


Connect this scenario of two perspectives of the same situation, with what we said yesterday: For a king to be king, he needs to have subjects, separate from him, otherwise he's not King.


Now, regarding the divine attribute of kingship, in order for it to be revealed, right and left have to be distinct from each other. In addition, past, present and future have to be distinct. Without these distinctions, His kingship is not revealed.


Because it's important for his kingship to be revealed, our world, as described by Einstein, is divided by time and space.


However, at the same time, within the divine source, right, left, up and down, are irrelevant, and therefore they all co-exist.


179 17 Tanya Sivan 20 ~ m206 m19 Sivan 21

Tanya book 2, Ch 7, Pt 2

 Based on what we said yesterday, how a king "needs" subjects in order to be king, we understand how the divisions of time and place can be manifest.

For the Creator's kingship to be revealed, these are important, and therefore their differences can be discerned.

However to the higher levels of Gdliness, these distinctions are irrelevant. Therefore on those levels all is truly one


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Why Divide?

Questions for today:

We’ve learned of how all of existence is brought into being by, and therefore one with, the Infinite Creator. Now we will explore, what is the relationship of the Creator with the Created world?


An important goal in the second book of Tanya is to explain that the prayer “Shema Yisrael,” that declares that G-d is one, implies a supernal level of the Creator's unity, and that the subsequent verse “Baruch shem” also implies a unity of the Creator, but on a lower level.


Through this we will understand the humility of the world, and its relationship to the Infinite Creator, even as it exists.


To explain this, we have to understand why G-d created a divided world in the first place.


It’s impossible for a human-being to be called a king if he does not have a nation, an “am”. Having 1000 children or a whole bunch of ministers will not make a person a king. To be king, a person needs an autonomous nation that will choose to accept his rulership upon themselves.


Certainly, the Creator doesn’t have such rules that would limit His ability to be king. We say in the prayers, “Adon olam asher malach biterem kul yitzir nivrah,” G-d was king before the world was even created. G-d doesn’t need a nation in order to be the King.


However, in order for this attribute to be revealed, there has to be a physical world, separate and independent of the Creator.


The creation of this divided, physical, world was to reveal G-d’s attribute of ‘Kingship’.


178 16 Tanya Sivan 19 ~ m205 m18 Sivan 20

Tanya book 2, Ch 7, Pt 1

Before we explain the Creator's unity, we need to understand why a divided world was created?

By humans, you can be kind, or any attribute, without anyone receiving anything from you. However it is impossible to be "king" without subjects, who are specifically separate from you.

Obviously the Creator who is all-possible, can be, and is, king without a world created. But to have this attribute revealed, needs a separate world.


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Meditation Required

Questions for today:

Today we use the information that we learned to answer another question we asked at the beginning of this book. Why the need to meditate that there is no other G-d hiding under the earth?


We just explained that the divine entity of Elokim, which restricts our perception of the infinite, and is what allows the physical world to take shape, is itself one with the Infinite Divine.


Now we understand why the Torah tells us that we have to meditate in our heart that there is no other creator above or below.


It might be intuitive that the world was created by the Creator. But we could still make a grave mistake.


The body is completely dependent on the soul for its life, its thought, and its every movement. At the same time, the soul cannot animate a tree, it can only animate a body.


Based on this train of thought, we can erroneously say that yes, the Creator creates the world, but He is forced to do so within the restrictions and rules discovered by Einstein.


So we say no, “Hashem Hu HaElokim,” every aspect of the world, even the definition of right and wrong, are entirely at the whim of the Creator's unfettered, undefined will.


177 15 Tanya Sivan 18~ m204 m17 Sivan 19

Tanya book 2, Ch 6, Pt 3

Now we understand why we need to "place in our hearts" that there is "none other".

Unlike the soul which, while it gives all of the animation to the body, yet it "needs" specifically a body - it can't animate a rock.

The Creator not only brings the world into being, without the creator there would not even be the properties with which the word exists.

Yet this "filter" which brings the world into being, only fools the viewer. Like a parable, or a good punch line, the creator "sees" the full picture at all times, an unconcealed, undivided, divinity.



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Nothing More To See

Questions for today:

Today we tackle a question we proposed at the outset. What does the verse mean that when we see that ‘HaShem’ is ‘Elokim’, we will realize that indeed there is nothing other than G-d?


We are discussing a two-pronged method of creation. There is a divine entity with the infinite capacity to make everything exist from nothing, and an equally divine capacity, called the name Elokim, that restricts our perception of the infinite so that we can physically take shape.


This leads to profound conclusions. The divine entity of restriction is what's making us take shape, which is an act of kindness.


This act of kindness is the opposite of Elokim’s restrictive nature.


This realization that the Divine aspect of ‘Elokim’ acts contrary to its nature, serves as a vivid testimony to the fact that Elokim is not about Itself. Elokim is an expression of an Infinite Creator greater than Itself.


The finite name of Elokim brings us into being and at the same time is actually a part of the infinite [described by the four-letter name of G-d that we refer to as] ‘HaShem’.


This explains the verse (dut. 4:35) that says that when we see that ‘Hashem is Elokim’, we’ll not only realize that there's no other creator, but even that the physical world, as we see it, is part of the infinite.


Indeed this is our objective, to understand how even with a created world, “Ein Od”, there's nothing else, other than G-d.


176 14 Tanya Sivan 17 ~ m203 m16 Sivan 18

Tanya book 2, Ch 6, Pt 2

The fact that the divine entity of restriction enables us to take shape, implies that it acts out of kindness - the opposite of its nature.

This shows that in truth, it is only an expression of an infinite Creator above it.

So we see that even the very creation of the physical is an actual, undivided aspect of the divine.

Therefore, not only are there no other Gods, there is not even true substance to our divided and limited self-identity.

As the verse says "Ein Od" there is nothing else.


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It’s Right In The Name

Questions for today:

As we learn about the two contrasting states; our oneness with the Creator, and our distinct existance, we delve deeper: What is this Divine entity that hides spirituality so well?


We're discussing a two-prong method of creation.


On one hand there is a divine entity which is expressed with the creator's name 'Yud' 'Kei' 'Vov' 'Kei', which implies a constant ability to create something from nothing.


On the other hand, you have an equally divine capacity, expressed by the name elokim which hides our perception of this divine power that's making us exist from nothing.


The name Elokim has the same numerical value as the word "Hateva" which means 'nature'. The etymology of the word 'Hateva' is 'Toveiah' which means 'to submerge'.


When you have something on dry land you could see it, the same way as if you were to see a miracle, you could 'see' G-d's hand.


If you take that thing and submerge it, it's the same as it was before you just can't see it.


In this same way, nature is also a tremendous miracle. It's just that the name elokim is doing its job, so we can't see G-d's hand.


175 13 Tanya Sivan 16 ~ m202 m15 Sivan 17

Tanya book 2, Ch 6 Pt 1

 We've explained a bit about the Creator's four-letter name that implies constant and infinite creator.

Now we begin to explain the name of the creator that hides this infinity.

This name, Elokim, has the same numerical value as nature. The etymology of the Hebrew word for nature implies "submerged" because the same way something that is submerged is identical to something on dry land, only it is hidden, nature is also an expression of God's handiwork only God's hand is hidden.


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