The "Tanya" is the central work of Chabad thought, a complete guide to the deep and often complicated relationship between man and G-d, instructing the "average" person every step of the way, foreseeing and forewarning all possible obstacles to his or her service of G-d. Written by the first Rebbe of Chabad it was first published in Kislev 5557 (the winter of 1797-8).
The following is a collection of extracts from a letter of the Friediker Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneesohn, describing the great importance, value and power of the Tanya.
|The title page of the first addition of the Tanya|
For twenty years the Alter Rebbe wrote the Tanya, adding and subtracting, and meticulously analysing every word till it was refined to the last letter, and then he gave permission for it to be copied and publicized. However, due to the thousands of copies of various manuscripts the number of errors increased, and then the Rebbe sent special messengers to the Tzadikim Reb Yehuda Leib HaKohen and Reb Zushe of Hanipoli to decide with them if it should be printed, and with their agreement the Rebbe granted them permission to print it. In his letter to the printer in Slavita he pleaded that he should be very careful with every letter, in order not to ruin the inner intent which he arrived at through intense effort.
The Mittler Rebbe said:
“With the Tanya my father opened a new hall in the heavenly Yeshiva; for the simple Chassidim who recited the words and letters of the Tanya, through which the essence of the soul was revealed in their fulfillment of Mitzves – and how much more so in the case of those of knowledge and perception.”
When my father began studying the Tanya with me, he said:
“The Tanya is like the Chumash; every Jew from the greatest scholar to the most simple and ignorant studies the Chumash, and each according to their ability understands what they are able to, yet none of them understand anything, and the greater one is, the greater one’s recognition of how supremely removed its conception is from one’s grasp.
“Not only does a chapter of Tanya shatter all that hides and impedes, but more-so it brings about the revelation of the essentially transcendent [manifestation of G-d], both spiritually and physically,” and he concluded with these words – “a chapter of Tanya brings about an abundance of blessing and success.”
(אג"ק כ"ק אדמו"ר הריי"ץ ח"ד ע' רסא ואילך)