Daily "Chitas" Tanya

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Cleaning Up for a Celebrity Visitor

057 Tanya Shvat 16 ~ m063c Shvat 24c


Questions for today:

Hell is outdated as a motivator. While Heaven is nice, is there a more compelling “why” to inspire me? Were is G-d in all of this?


We spent the last few days describing the separation that we create between us and the Creator every time we do even the tiniest sin.


This helps us to understand, that even though Heaven and Hell are an important part of Jewish belief, that's not why we do, or don't do, a sin.


In fact, our reason is not even because we separate from the Creator - but the opposite.


Today's Tanya reminds us, that even though we separate between us and the Creator when we do a sin, but that's just part of the illusion of creation. In reality, we are always one.


Imagine We are giving a tour to a little child, or to a grandparent or a great rabbi, through every part of our life.


Is it possible that there will be something in our life that we will feel awkward to show to an innocent child, a grandparent, a rabbi?


Now let’s think that G-d is not just next to us, but we are one with the Creator. Everything that we do or experience the Creator is doing and experiencing with us.


Isn't it possible that that is a reason that we should be careful about what we do, think or say?


Tanya book 1, ch24 pt 3

Now we see a real reason not to do a sin: Not (only) because we disconnect from the Creator, but rather, because we are really one - And how could we bring the Creator to such lows?


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Informed, Conscious, Consent

056 Tanya Shvat 15 ~ m063b Shvat 24b


Questions for today:

While we’ve analyzed the full, honest, understanding of what we do when we do wrong, we also need to include in our self-judgment the choices we make when we are properly informed. [or, consciously aware]


[Recorded at the holy site of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, in Meron.


Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai defined his life by the fact that our soul was not just attached to the Creator, or connected the Creator, but ‘one’ with the Creator.]


We spent seventeen chapters of the Tanya explaining that a person could contemplate their connection to the Creator, and through this, develop a love for the Creator.


Then we said that if a person can't contemplate this, then they should realize that the entire world is created of, and by, One Creator. We don't need to ‘connect’ with the Creator because we already are one.


If we are only humbled to that fact, then we remove any type of separation made by creation and we become one.


On the other hand, if we do even the tiniest sin, we are standing up and saying that the Creator is irrelevant, and we separate ourselves.


Therefore, it is so important to focus on today’s Tanya. Today we learn a quote from the Talmud that says that a Jew would never consciously tear themselves away from the Creator. It's just the that they don't notice that this little act they are doing, is sadly doing exactly that


Tanya book 1, ch24 pt 2

Since any sin separates us from the creator, and since no Jew wants to be cut off from the creator, this reckoning gives every Jew the ability to live, day by day, connected.


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G-d Loves Us, G-d Lets Us 'Go'

055 Tanya Shvat 14 ~ m063 Shvat 24  

Questions for today:

Our discussion of how we can become truly one with the Creator began with us describing two perspectives. We become one with the Creator when we are humble to the Creator’s perspective. What happens when we entrench ourselves in the divided, physical perspective?


There is an age-old saying, “there is no such thing as bad publicity”. Even if you announce to the whole world how terrible of a person I am, you are telling everyone that I'm relevant.


These last few days we were learning about the ability to achieve real unity with the Creator. We achieve this by thinking thoughts of the Torah, or by participating in the Creator's mission with the commandments.


Today we're going to go the opposite extreme, and there are two different levels.


When you look around the world you see a lot of things that oppose the Creator; Things that are bad, things that go against the Creator's ideology, against greatest Commandments - but at least those things don't negate the Creator, they still tell the world of the Creator is relevant.


There is a lower level than that. When “we participate” in one of those things, when we act with hatred, or when we think against the Creator’s thoughts, or observe even the tiniest commandment against what the Creator tells us, we are standing up and telling the world the creator is irrelevant.


Our hands, our feet, our thought process, are acting on the ability to the creator gave it to step away.


Tanya book 1, ch24 pt 1

On the opposite extreme of the previous lesson about unity, we describe the ability to separate.

Beyond the physical negative entities, which are created to further G-d's mission in their unique way - our active participation in that negativity, even with the smallest sin, - represents a real separation from the Creator.


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G-d Reaches Down, So We Can Hug

054 Tanya Shvat 13 ~ m062 Shvat 23 


Questions for today:

I can learn what I am instructed to, and I can do what I am told, but my emotions are human. How can I connect to the Creator on a personal level?


Today we learn about a remarkable gift that the Creator gives us, in relation to the relationship that we can have with the Creator.


We've been studying the unity that's possible when we participate in the creator's innermost desire, through doing G-d's commandments and delving into G-d's intellect through the Torah.


The depth of that connection also has an entirely different dimension. Our relationship with the Creator is not just through thought, speech, and action - it's also an emotional one as well.


Typically, our emotions can only get involved with things that they relate to, on their realm.


Therefore, when the Creator lends the Creator's innermost thoughts, enabling us to intertwine our intellect with the Creator's intellect and become united on that level, this gives us a framework to have an emotional relationship with the Creator on that supernal level as well. 


Tanya book 1, ch23 pt 6

By gifting us with the possibility to unite with the Creator on a supernal level, G-d creates a possibility for us to have an emotional relationship on that supernal level as well


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Darkness Divides, Clarity Unites

053b Tanya Shvat 12b ~ m061 Shvat 22   


Questions for today:

Can I raise above the divisions of reality, even above their very roots?


We've been  learning that it's possible for us to live and exist from the Creator’s perspective, where the divisions of the world don't exist.


Each day we're getting a little more clarity.


How are those divisions created? The Creator hides the Creator’s unity.


If I get above that darkness, I can connect to the Creator’s very self.


How do I find the Creator self? Well, how do I find myself?


Money is not me. Money a means to get what I want. A job is a ‘means to a means’ to get what I want.


My inner desire, that's me.


When I do a mitzvah, I'm connecting to the creator's inner desire, I'm connecting to the creator's very self.


However, because I'm doing an ‘act’ to connect to the creator, the act is kind of like a cloak.


However, the Torah itself is the Creator's inner desire. When my mind is thinking the thoughts of the Torah, there is no cloak, there is no darkness.


I'm not ‘connecting’ to the Creator - I'm one with the Creator.


Tanya book 1, ch23 pt 5

The world’s divided reality is created by darkness.

Our connection to the Creator’s transparent very self, lifts us above that.


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I Think, Therefore I Am One

052c Tanya Shvat 11c ~ m059 Shvat 20  


Questions for today:

To perform a Mitzvah is to be as one and as in sync with the Creator as my fingers are with me. …but when I want to walk, my dream is not about my feet… it’s about ‘me’ walking.
Is there a way for me to be -not G-d’s limb- but one with G-d’s very self?


We've been speaking about how when a person supersedes their own identity and their own agenda, and they say “I want to be humble to the Creator's innermost desire - I want to do a mitzvah” they become one with the Creator.


We learned that this unity is like a car, which becomes an extension of the driver, or even more, like the way our hands and feet are one with our Soul.


However, even though the file the car follows every single instruction without any questions, and the hands and feet don't even need instructions: when we think we want to move, they move - nevertheless the limbs’ movement, and the soul’s thoughts are on two different planes.


Today we learn about a higher type of unity.


When we occupy our intellect with the thought and ideology of the Torah, eg. when we contemplate how G-d says “love your neighbor like yourself” or we analyze the prohibition against theft, or murder, those ideas are not a ‘message’ from the Creator - those are the creator's own thoughts.


Therefore, as we engross our intellect, our thoughts, in the thoughts and the intellect of the Creator, us and the Creator are not just unifying – we are absolutely one.


Tanya book 1, ch23 pt 4

Taking our unity with G-d up a notch:

By uniting intellectually with the Creator, we become truly one.


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Transparent Clothing

052c Tanya Shvat 11c ~ m059 Shvat 20   


Questions for today:

I understand that I can think G-dly things, but how special is my ability to “do” things?


We are learning how we could be humble to, and be one with, the Creator. Through this, we can live and experience the world from the Creator’s perspective - where there is no division.


Our Soul has ten components including kindness and strictness, etc. Our Soul also had three clothing;


The ability to think, is an internal processing ability. The clothing of speech is in the middle, it's an internal process, but it relates to the outside world.


The ability to act is a clothing of the soul that it can interact with things completely outside of ourselves.


When this clothing, our ability to act, is involved in a mitzvah, it's like the creator's limbs: It's completely in sync with, and it actually reveals, the creator's innermost desire.


Our hands and feet that are fulfilling the soul’s clothing and ability to act, are also revealing and expressing the creator's desire.


But they are like a chariot. A chariot does what the rider wants, but it doesn't fit like a glove.


Tanya book 1, ch23 pt 3

The third clothing of our Soul, our ability to interact with the outside world, can be the Creator’s very limbs.

-       And our limbs, can be the Creator’s chariot.


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Additional thoughts:

We generally described our Body as being an expression of the soul. However, that’s not entirely accurate.

Our external organs – our hands and feet – act entirely based on our will. Our internal organs do not.

We don’t control our digestive system, or our hard for that matter based on what we would like.

Similarly, it’s our external ability to act that truly expresses G-d’s inner most desire


Connecting on Every Level

Sorry I did not yet prepare a written transcript for this day. 

This day's thought is an overview of some of the points in the chapter that we are studying over these few days 

Living Our Inner Unity

052 Tanya Shvat 11 ~ m057 Shvat 18  


Questions for today:

We learned that our world is divided, and the same world, from the Creator’s perspective is truly one. Is there a way that we can enact that part of reality, in our lives?


We've been discussing how a world created by one Creator could overcome differences.


There are things that G-d doesn't “love” and G-d’s Heart and inspiration, so to speak, are not into it. Reciprocally, those things don't feel appreciative or humbled to the Creator, and therefore they feel separate.


Now let’s look at the opposite extreme.


Imagine a person that says I don't care about my identity, I don't care about my agendas. All I want to do is the innermost desire of the Creator. I wanted to do Mitzvos.


That person has the capacity to reveal the inner, true, unity and oneness with the Creator.


A person doing G-d’s desire is like a car that follows the instructions of the rider without any questions - It becomes an extension of the driver.


Or, think even more so, of our hands and feet – they don't even need instructions. If we think we want to move they move automatically, because they are really one with us.


These are an example of the capability of a creation to truly unite with the Creator, simply by being humble to the innermost desire of the Creator.


Tanya book 1, ch23 pt 1

We can truly unite with the Creator by participating in the Creators commandments.


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No Appreciation

051 Tanya Shvat 10 ~ m056b Shvat 17b


Questions for today:

How can an Idol exist in a created world? Or, more poignantly – why don’t I humbly appreciate G-d’s hand in every part of my life?


We've learned about G-d's power of concealment, and of how it creates on the one hand a very real, on the other hand an illusion, of a divided physical world.


Today we're going to learn about the most powerful component of it: How in the world, created of and by G-d, an idol can exist.


It works as a two-way street.


We've learned how G-d creates idolatry in a ‘backhanded’ way. We know that when we do something that we don't love, our heart isn't in it - You can’t see our ‘life’ in the project.


On the flip side, imagine if a child is riding a bicycle and they don't feel the ‘life’ – the care and the hovering of the parent so that they don't fall - They feel they have nobody to thank.


This is the root and the core of idolatry.


Who were Stalin and Chairman Mao's ‘divine’ inspiration giving them a mandate to kill millions of people?


It was ‘Me’

(Not me, G-d forbid), it was their unmitigated, un-differing ‘me’ that gave them the ideology and the belief that there is no one above them, that they themselves, were God.


Tanya book 1, ch22 pt 2

Where G-d doesn't love, Gd's presence is not felt.

When we don't feel Gd's presence we can believe that I am God


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Talking Trash

050 Tanya Shvat 9 ~ m056 Shvat 17  


Questions for today:

We learned that we remain one with the Creator even while we are created. Nevertheless, the term “speech” which is used to describe our creation reminds us that, at least from our perspective, the world can really feel apart from G-d.


We've been learning about how G-d's speech, unlike ours, never leaves G-d's head. Therefore, everything that is created by G-d's speech remains one.


If that is the case, then why is it described using the same word as our speech?


Yesterday we give the example of an illusionist that isn’t fooled by their own trick.


That is true for the magician - but we are in the audience.


G-d's power of concealment is so strong and so multifaceted that it creates a world that isn’t just diverse, but so real that there are things that are created that are called “other G-ds”.


They are called “other G-ds” for two reasons, today we will learn one.


There Hebrew word for ‘other’, “Acherim”, doesn't only mean other, it also means “behind”. G-d creates those things in a ‘backhanded’ way.


There are things created not because of their own sake, but rather, they are created for the thrill of victory that comes when we avoid them.


Tanya book 1, ch22 pt 1

Although G-d is not impressed by the illusion of separation that gives this world its diverse reality, we are.

In fact, Gd's power of concealment is so strong it facilitates idolatry


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A One-Way Reality

049 Tanya Shvat 8 ~ m55 Shvat 16


Questions for today:

How can my acts of unity be real and heroic, when to G-d, all of existence is truly one?


We've been learning that our creation of and by one Creator, through speech, all happening in the creator's own head, all means that we're all really one.


This leads to a deep religious quandary: If we are truly one, then how does one person, give a separate person, charity? is it all pretend?


On the flip side, if G-d creates a divided reality where good and bad, right and wrong, could exist - doesn't that mean that we are actually divided?


They say that a magician should never teach their secrets. This is because an illusion, no matter how impressive or how skillful, as soon as you know the secret, the excitement doesn't just get diminished - it completely disappears.


This is the crux of Creation: The Creator, with a specific Divine capacity, can conceal Himself to create a framework for reality. However, this ‘illusion’ of a divided reality, to the Creator - like a magician that knows the secret - is not just not impressive, but entirely non-existent.


Tanya book 1, ch21 pt 3

If we are truly one, how can good and bad, or charity exist? If we are separated for life's values, doesn't that divide us?

Like an optical illusion that, once seen, can't be appreciated, the concealment of creation, is real - but only to us, from whom its secret is hidden


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Additional Thoughts:

There is an important confession/disclosure that I need to make. When teaching Chassidus, the inner part of the Torah, there are certain rules.

One of them is the importance of accuracy with examples and parables.

A Central tool of Chassidus is the use of examples and parables from this physical world, to understand the Creator.

With this in mind, the examples in Chassidus have the same criteria as any other Torah teaching with lessons learned from tiny details.

Case in point, in many of the lessons over these few days we are deriving all types of lessons from the various details regarding speech.

Since speech is the example that the Torah uses, therefore every aspect of speech could be analyzed and used to understand the creator.

In researching towards this project, I asked about using other examples that I found illustrative  when teaching these lessons. I was told that it’s OK to use personal examples, as long as it’s clear that these are my examples being used as a tool to explain some thing, and not a part of the Chassidic lesson.

Today’s lesson is a prime example. Neither the Tanya nor the Torah source that it is explaining, use the example of a magician.

The example that is used is of a teacher explaining something to a student, which is entirely beyond the students understanding.

Rabbi Faitel Levin in his phenomenal work, heaven on earth, spells it out as a teacher teaching a preschooler math, using blocks.

[If we were to think of the ‘math lesson’ rather than the blocks as our subject] we can see the above lesson play out clearly.

The teacher lays out two blocks, and two blocks, and now there are four blocks out. We now have two separate views simultaneously; The teacher sees math. The fact that there are block shapes depicting the numbers doesn’t ‘hide’ the lesson from the teacher. The teacher sees a formula, 2+2=4.

The student however, didn’t absorb the math yet. It is ‘hidden’ from the child. All the child sees is blocks. There are groups of blocks, and they make up a sum, but the child doesn’t ‘see’ that now.

This is the example given by Chassidus for today’s lesson: G-d is creating a ‘lesson’ for us, a Divine world. We see the ‘blocks’. To G-d that ‘knows’ the lesson, the ‘blocks’, the divisions and distinctions of the world, don’t ‘fool’ the Creator, there is no divide.

Therefore, when we perform a mitzvah, it is real. In our perspective there really is a division. At the same time to the Creator, this division does not fragment reality.


Our Existence is a Revelation of G-dliness

048b Tanya Shvat 7b ~ m54 Shvat 15  


Questions for today:

If we never separate away from the Creator, how is our existence sufficiently distinct to be called “speech”?


We are discussing this topic at length, because it's at the crux of existence.


Science grapples with how zero plus zero could create a world. We don't start with zero, we start with a beyond-infinite Creator, but we have the same question: How could something undefined and without change, create the world we see?


The example that we give is speech, which puts words to our undefined thoughts.


However, now we have another question. We just explained that even after creation, existence is still one with the Creator. If that is the case, how is that a parable to ‘words’ which come ‘out’ of me?


Today's Tanya teaches another impact that words have. Words reveal what's inside.


Whereas my thoughts are only thoughts after they ‘leave’ the emotions that cause them, and my words are only hearable after they ‘leave’ me, the Creator’s ten utterances which bring about existence - and me and you - are hearable and visible even while they are within the Oneness of the creator.


Tanya book 1, ch21 pt 2

The Torah uses the parable of speech to describe creation, not because creation is ‘outside’ of the Creator, as is our speech, but because creation, like our words, is a revelation.


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We Speak “Out”. G-d Does Not

048 Tanya Shvat 7 ~ m53 Shvat 14


Questions for today:

If the example used for our creation is speech, why do we measure ourselves by the unity from where speech comes within the head and psyche?


We spoke the last couple days about how our creation, of and by one Creator, unites all of us, and the fact that we were specified into our individual existence by speech means that we are still one.


However, when I speak, the words come out of me and they have a life of their own. Isn't it possible then, that when we were created, we were divided from each other?


Think of a donut.

Where was that donut before you thought of it? Did it “not exist”? Or, did it coexist with everything else in our subconscious mind?


When we say that G-d “speaks” us into existence, this is within the Creator's realm. A reality where there is no time or space that divide it.


There is no up or down, no inside or outside. When G-d ‘speaks’ us into existence, those words don't exit the Creator. They stay within the Creator, and we remain identified, but together with everything else in existence - singular and undivided.                                 


Tanya book 1, ch21 pt 1

Our speech exits us, and separates.

G-d's speech has nowhere "out" to go. We remain, as in our source, singular and undivided.


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We Are Defined, Not Separated

047b Tanya Shvat 6b ~ m52 Shvat 13


Questions for today:

I see myself completely distinct from you, but how far apart are we? What value do my distinctive element have when viewed within their source?


Yesterday we learned that our Soul has an innate connection to the Creator.


We realized that that's why people, who may not have lived a religious life, would still rather give up their life than to disconnect from the Creator or Judaism.


Yesterday we learned that since the creator is constantly bringing the world into existence, that means every part of the world represents an opportunity to either connect, or disconnect, from the Creator.


Today we are going to learn the same things from a different angle.


Let's look at all of the variability of the world like we learn, that it represents G-d’s spoken word.


When we say words, those different words don't actually represent meaningful fractions of our thoughts.


Going higher, those thoughts aren't little parts, or fractions of. the emotions that they come from.


The emotions also don’t represent actual fractions of the intellectual connection they come from, and the Intellectual connections are not fractions, or parts, of our soul.


Above each level, in their source, they are truly one.


So if we look at all the divided parts of the world and we open our eyes, will realize it's really, truly, one.


Tanya book 1, ch20 pt 3           

Our oneness is apparent not just in the humility to the Creator’s constantly bringing us into existence, but even analyzing the process of our formation, we see the divisions don’t truly separate us.


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