USC TANYA CALENDAR http://www.chabad.org/calendar/candlelighting.htm
So what separates the prophets from the profiteers — and the loony bin? The Torah’s requirements for a real prophet are rigorous enough: Prophets must provide meaningful, useful information. They are not believed until they have demonstrated their accuracy, or have been approved by another prophet who passed such a test. Their predictions cannot conflict with past prophecies, certainly not with the prophecy of Moses. If they cross any of these lines — and claim to be Divinely informed — they are culpable with their very lives. What if this seer-wannabe does miracles and performs wonders? Sorry, he’ll have to find another nation to accept him. We’re not impressed by miracles and wonders — could be slight-of-hand, could be black magic, could be hi-tech multimedia. And what’s it got to do with prophecy, anyway? We need real proof. If you’re still interested in trying out, see Maimonides, Mishnah Torah, Laws of Prophecy for all the fine print.
What about if someone says, “I’m not a prophet, I just had a state of clarity in which the hidden things of the universe became clear as day”? If s/he leads a humble and virtuous life a few steps beyond the rest of us with no pretensions to fame and glory, then give this person a chance. Otherwise, just ignore.
Now to your question about the Lubavitcher Rebbe‘s involvement with these matters:
I’m not a chassid of the Lubavitcher Rebbe because of his predictions. There are far more compelling factors, such as his concern for every human being, the fathomless depth of his insights and his interminable spunky attitude towards the entire world. Miracles may be flashy and fortune telling may be neat, but neither do a rebbe make.
Nevertheless, a person who leads an elevated life also lives a little above time. S/he sees deeper and with a clarity that goes beyond ordinary intuition. Call it Divine Inspiration, call it a kind of prophecy — that doesn’t really matter. What matters is the concern and leadership shown by a person who otherwise lives in a world beyond ours. If that calls for imparting a higher vision, s/he does that as well. With the perils the Jewish people have had to survive, anything of this sort could provide some great dividends. And there are certain things we all heard from the Rebbe that simply make it a lot easier to keep moving forward (and sleep at night). Look, I’ll give you the facts and you can judge for yourself. I’m just going to tell one story out of many, one very relevant to us right now:
Play by Play
September 22, 1980; Iraq attacked Iran.Most of us didn’t see that as something earth shaking — but one person did. The Lubavitcher Rebbe began to talk repeatedly about how “the earth is shaking…nations are inciting one other, threatening the very stability of the world…”. Eventually, he asked us to add prayers for the stability of the world and accept upon ourselves every morning the mitzvahto love one another. I remember being quite puzzled at the time: The earth under my feet seemed quite firm. Is there any more instability now than during, say, the Cuban missile crisis?
As the Iraq-Iran conflict drew on, the Rebbe sent a message to BenjaminNetanyahu, then Israeli ambassador to the UN. He warned him not to consider this a regional conflict — the fact that Iraq is not afraid to attack a country much larger and more powerful than itself is a sign that soon it will be ready to make war with the entire world.
Okay, so the Rebbe was better informed than me, and sharp on international political analysis. Hold on:
Ten years later, June, 1990. The Rebbe declares the coming year as a year in which we will see wondrous miracles. He asks that this be printed on the calendars for next year. At every opportunity, the Rebbe repeats his promise.
August 2, 1990. Iraq walks into Kuwait. The U.S. and it’s NATO allies rush troops to Saudi Arabia to deter a possible attack. Egypt and several other Arab nations join the “Operation Desert Shield.” Hussein meanwhile builds up his occupying army in Kuwait to about 300,000 troops — and announces that, if attacked, he will immediately turn his air force and guns toward Israel. Things aren’t looking too miraculous yet.
The Rebbe spends unprecedented hours praying and meditating at the gravesite of his father-in-law. On August 18, the Rebbe addressed the public. He cited an ancient Midrash, the Yalkut Shimoni:
The king of Persia will attack an Arab nation. The Arab king will go to Aram for advice. The king of Persia will bring destruction to the entire world, and all of the nations will be struck by panic and fear … Israel will also be overtaken by panic and fear, and they will cry, ‘Where shall we go? Where shall we go’?
Moshiach will then tell them: ‘My children, fear not. Everything I have done, I have done for you. Why are you afraid? Do not fear! The time of your redemption has arrived.”
Who is the Persian king? Who is Aram? Shortly afterward, the Rebbe explained:
At the times of the Midrash, the Persian empire was centered in Mesopotamia — modern-day Iraq. The Arab nation can then be understood as Kuwait — being on the Arabian peninsula. As for Aram, this means a superpower (ram means “exalted”), namely the United States of America, to whom Kuwait turned for assistance.
In summary, the Rebbe’s message was: There is nothing to fear. All that is happening is in order to prepare the world for the messianic era.
That Sunday, a member of the Israeli Parliament, Eli Kulas, asked the Rebbe for his message to the people of Israel. The Rebbe responded:
“There is nothing to worry about. They only need to increase their confidence in G‑d and then He will increase even more His blessings — with serenity for the soul and body.”
For whatever reasons, people take military experts more seriously than a Chassidic rabbi in Brooklyn. Israel was scared. They knew the kind of bio-chemical weapons Iraq had designed just for them. Weapons that could render the land uninhabitable for centuries. The feeble solution: Distribute gas masks to the populace.
Israeli radio interviewed Rabbi L. Groner, one of the Rebbe’s secretaries, and asked for the Rebbe’s opinion concerning gas masks. The response: The Rebbe feels there is no need to scare people.
Rabbi Yosef Ralbag asked on behalf of the inhabitants of Jerusalem: Should we accept the gas mask solution? And should we store up food, as the authorities and all the media is encouraging us to do? (The papers even suggested that water should not be stored in plastic containers, since these are gas-permeable.)
The Rebbe’s response:
Concerning gas masks: Every Jewish child who has learned Torah knows the verse, “The eyes of the Lord your G‑d are upon the land from the beginning of the year to the end” (Deuteronomy) Ask any child what that means. There is no need to scare people.
Concerning hoarding food: This is forbidden by halachah (Jewish law), as it drives up the price of essential needs.
Hold on now: The Rebbe is dealing with human lives — lots of lives. This is not some confident talk over the dinner table. He’s taking a major responsibility on his shoulders.
August 19, 1990 the Rebbe spoke with MK Ronny Milo. Milo reports:
“When I left for New York, the panic was at its height. Everyone was anxious, worried and shivering. I told the Rebbe and he answered assertively, ‘There is no room for worry. There will not be any strike against the Israeli People.’ I listened in astonishment. How could this be? It’s impossible! We are distributing gas masks to the entire populace… according to reliable intelligence sources…”
Over the following months, the Rebbe didn’t let up. He repeated the words of the Midrash at every occasion, “My children, do not be afraid! All that I have done has been for your sake. The time of your redemption has arrived.”
Back in Israel, the line-ups at the airport were growing. Airplanes left full and returned empty. Universities and yeshivas were becoming desolate of their foreign students. But the Rebbe not only discouraged leaving, he encouraged people to travel there, saying that now is the best time to visit Israel, to encourage Israel’s residents. Even people who had plans to leave Israel to attend a wedding were discouraged.
January 15th was approaching — the date set by UN ultimatum for Saddam to withdraw from Kuwait or meet military force. The Director-General of Israel’s Ministry of Tourism, Rafi Farber, spoke with the Rebbe. The Rebbe’s words (in translation):
“I publicize at every opportunity that it is necessary to travel there. On the contrary, this is the safest place, since it is the place of the Temple Mount and the place of the Temple. The main factor is that there are millions of Jews there, may they be increased.”
To a rabbi whose daughter was studying in Israel and wished to know whether she should return now to the US:
“G‑d forbid! What kind of thinking is this? It shouldn’t even be spoken — even just the idea of leaving Jerusalem!”
On January 6, 1991, representatives of the Jewish Federation of New Jersey came to ask the Rebbe for his blessing before traveling to Israel:
“You must publicize the fact that you are traveling to Israel, because there are Jews who are afraid and are frightening others traveling there. It should be publicized that you are traveling and that there is actually nothing to worry about. It is the safest place, because it is the place of the Holy Temple.”
Each Israeli general and military expert presented his scenario to the media. All had one assumption in common: Israel would be dragged into this war and hit hard by it. The only questions were when and how hard. Many Israeli reserve soldiers abroad understood that it was time to return to Israel to take part in a defensive operation. The Rebbe answered clearly, whenever asked, that there was no need for them to do so.
The papers displayed pictures of religious public figures that had removed their beards in order to fit on their gas masks. The Rebbe told both civilians and militia that there was no need to remove the beard.
The Israeli media quoted a dean of a certain rabbinical college describing the “holocaust” that was about to occur. We never heard the Rebbe so vehement as in his reaction to that statement. On the one hand, the Rebbe’s unbearable pain and horror at hearing such a statement. On the other hand, the confidence and certitude that “G‑d loves His people, sees only the good in them and has only good in store for them — miracles and wonders.”
Obviously, we’re dealing with a man who is intensely concerned for the lives of his people and extremely cautious about saying anything that may endanger them. So, I’m left with only three theories:
The Rebbe was privy to inside intelligence unavailable to the CIA or the Mossad.
The Rebbe was collaborating with aliens working for the stability of the planet and had worked out a deal by which they would use their invisible technology to intercept missiles and aircraft traveling toward the Holy Land.
There is a phenomenon, the mechanics of which have yet to be described by any science, by which certain individuals may be acutely aware of the progress of the cosmos. A.k.a. “Prophecy” or even plain “Divinen Inspiration”.
You choose. Here’s what unfolded:
I Can’t Believe This is Happening
January 16-17, 1991: The Coalition air war begins. Bombers and cruise missiles strike at power plants, munitions factories, and other strategic targets.
January 17, 1991, 3am: Iraq keeps good on its promise and fires seven scud missiles at Israel.
Now, I have to admit, I personally was very confused at this point. I’m sure I was not alone. Many of us — most likely, George Bush Sr. included — were betting on the odds that Saddam wasn’t really as crazed as he seemed and would back down at the last moment. I mean, here you have the entire world’s army at your doorstep without an ally to speak of aside from Yasser Arafat — could there really be a megalomaniac of this size? So, I thought, that must be what the Rebbe is predicting — Israel will be safe because there will be no war.
And now there was war, scuds and all. I recall listening to a sensationalist BBC reporter reporting, “I see explosions and fire over Jerusalem!” A neighbor dryly asked, “So what does your Rebbe say now?”
So much for second-guessing a rebbe. Scuds had been falling for 48 hours when the Rebbe spoke that Shabbat:
“Obviously, these events will not hurt the Jewish People in any way… especially those living in Israel… it is the safest place on earth. As far as the deeds of those who hate us and are attempting to hurt us, G‑d forbid — there is no substance to their attacks, they will not succeed, since ‘the Guardian of Israel neither sleeps nor slumbers.'”
The Rebbe also wished a complete and full recovery for those who were injured in the attacks.
As the scuds continued to fall, an important guest, Rabbi ShmuelUnsdorfer of Petach Tikva visited the Rebbe. The Rebbe hadn’t budged from his position a nanometer:
“I instruct everyone to travel to Israel. It is obvious that those who are already there must not leave. And those who are able to travel there and have already let others know — if they do not go it will be understood as a contravention of the Code of Jewish Law [not to strike fear into the hearts of your brothers –ed.].”
Scuds kept falling. Mainly in the Tel Aviv area. Daniel Pe’er had planned a large wedding celebration in a Tel Aviv neighborhood. Now, with missiles knocking down buildings, he was thinking maybe that’s not a good idea. The Rebbe disagreed and the wedding was reported in the papers.
What is a scud? A liquid fueled, long-range 20-foot long missile that can be armed with either a 100 kiloton nuclear warhead or 1,802 pounds of conventional explosive. Scuds can also be used to deliver chemical or biological weapons. When Iraq fired scuds at Iranian civilian targets, hundreds of thousands were killed.
For whatever reason, none of the scuds that landed in Israel had nuclear, chemical or biological warheads. Some landed in empty fields. Some in the ocean. One hit a highly strategic point, obviously aimed to cause extreme devastation: A natural gas pipeline node between Haifa and Tel Aviv. But that happened to have been shut for repairs two days earlier. Another landed in an empty lot right across from a crowded shopping mall. A few demolished entire buildings. But nobody was killed by any of them. Yes, there were those who died of heart attack triggered by fear and anxiety. Seven died from improper use of a gas mask. Even the secular press was full of news of “miracles and wonders.”
A friend of mine was in one of those buildings that was demolished. He told me:
“The building had five floors. We were all on the bottom floor, since there was an alert. The entire building shook, we were thrown from our places. And then we looked up. The scud had pierced the fifth, the fourth, the third and the second floor — and it’s warhead was peeping at us through the ceiling. That is where it stopped. There were some minor injuries.”
A Persian taxi driver told me how they had asked their mufti, “How is it possible that the same missiles that wreaked havoc in our country are so impotent when they strike Israel?” The mufti replied, “Because that is the Holy Land.”
Okay, it’s your turn: Find a precedent in military history, in which lethal weapons struck highly populated areas without causing mortal casualties.
(Unfortunately, a certain US general, when asked why his army was not doing more to prevent the firing of these missiles, replied, “We don’t see any real danger to lives from these weapons.” The next day, February 25th, 1991, an Iraqi scud missile hit an American military barracks in Saudi Arabia, sadly killing 28 soldiers and injuring 97 more.)
Theory number four: Undercover Lubavitchers, posing as Iraqi military technologists, secretly placed mutant super-intelligent kamikaze pilot guinea pigs aboard each scud. These then subtly maneuvered the missile’s path at the last moment according to precise instructions to provide the illusory effect of a miracle.
On the Ground
The Coalition air attack, “Operation Desert Storm”, met minimal resistance. But military pundits unanimously forecast a long and bloody ground campaign on the perilous Kuwaiti-Iraqi terrain. Nobody doubted that Saddam’s arsenal of bio-chemical weapons would be unleashed on the approaching armies. Conservative estimates predicted a battle of several months costing tens of thousands of lives from the Coalition Forces.
In the first two days of the ground assault, the Coalition forces took more than 30,000 Iraqi prisoners. The next two days featured the largest tank battle since World War II in which hundreds of Coalition tanks, armored infantry vehicles, and combat helicopters destroyed 200 Iraqi tanks. No Coalition losses were reported. Total Coalition losses reported for the entire Gulf War: 300.
The Rebbe was later to say that those who witnessed these events saw open miracles. Ask a marine who was there and he’ll tell you the same thing.
One hundred hours after “Operation Desert Saber” began, Saddam agreed to a ceasefire. On the Jewish calendar, that day was Purim. It was a wild Purim.
I have yet to find a reliable source confirming that the Rebbe explicitly predicted the war would end on Purim. Certainly, we were all under that impression at the time — Israeli radio reported it and any Lubavitcher you asked would say, “The Rebbe says it will be over by Purim”. And yes, the Rebbe had spoken enigmatically about “the unbridled joy of Purim” repeatedly since the fall. Then there was the story with Chaplain Rabbi Jacob Goldstein — as reported by one of the Rebbe’s secretaries, Rabbi Leibl Groner:
“I was standing next to the Rebbe at the time. Goldstein told the Rebbe he was being sent to the Gulf and was taking along a megillah for Purim. The Rebbe looked surprised and asked, “What do you need a megillah for?”
Confused, Goldstein mumbled something about the fact that there are Jews there who need to hear the reading of the Book of Esther on Purim. The Rebbe told him, “By Purim you will be in a place where there will be plenty of megillahs and you certainly won’t need one.”
It seems many who heard about this verbal interchange made the implication that the war would be over by Purim. As it turned out, a week before the war was ended, the Americans sent some officers to man the Patriot Missile Interceptors in Israel. Some were Jewish, so Goldstein was sent along. So when Purim came, he was in Israel.
It’s not in keeping with the Rebbe’s character to flaunt explicit forecasts. The Rebbe’s style is to hide any accomplishments that may seem supernatural, attributing his pronouncements to common sense and basic Torah law, purposely avoiding the flash and sparkle that generally goes along with miracle-making.
After all, what was the Rebbe’s agenda with these predictions? To sell lots of books? To get on the Oprah Winfrey Show? The Rebbe simply wanted people to increase their confidence in the One Above, lower their blood pressure and stop the gloom and doom by seeing all that is happening as a precursor of the imminent messianic era. If that deemed a few awesome miracles necessary, so be it. A dab of prophetic vision? Whatever.
Which brings us to the finale: How does any of this help us sleep better at night — tonight? Or move ahead in life — today?
Well, you see, tzaddikim can sometimes say mysterious things. It’s as though they were describing the landscape from a satellite rather than from the ground, except with time rather than space. They might talk about things far away as though they were happening right now.
And so it was, on the Shabbat immediately after Purim and the ceasefire that the Rebbe addressed his Chassidim, speaking about the miracles and wonders and their meaning. And then he wished success to the American forces in their mission in Basra.
That was quite puzzling. In fact, the Rebbe had spoken much about Basra at the beginning of the war, on January 19th. He had quoted the dialogue fromIsaiah the prophet (Isaiah 63:1):
“Who is this coming from Edom, with soiled garments from Basra? This one who is majestic in his clothing, girded with his abundant strength?”
The Rebbe was encouraging the American troops to finish off the job. But when it came to publishing that talk, he told the transcribers to hold off. “The time for this has not yet come,” he informed them.
(The Rebbe used a phrase, Od chazon lamoed, which originally appears in G‑d’s words to Habbakuk when He tells him that the prophecy concerning the downfall of Nebuchadnezzar — the Assyrian King after whom Saddam proclaims to model himself — is not yet complete.)
And now, five weeks later and two days after the ceasefire, the Rebbe was speaking as though his advice had been followed and a finish-it-off campaign had already begun.
Twelve years later to that day on the Hebrew calendar, American troops attacked Basra — to finish off the job they had begun. President Bush Jr. addressed the citizens of Iraq on that day and said, “The day of your liberation is near.”
Now read the continuation of those verses in the present context:
“It is I, who speaks with righteousness, abundantly able to save!”
“Why is there red on your clothing and your garments are like those of someone treading in a wine vat?”
“I have trodden a winepress alone, not a man from the nations was with me. I trod on them in my anger and trampled them in my wrath and their lifeblood spurted on my garments so I soiled all my garments. For a day of reckoning is in my heart and the year of my liberation has come. I looked, but there was no helper. I was astounded that there was no supporter. So my own arm saved me and my own wrath supported me.”
(Theory number five: A Lubavitcher writes the President’s speeches.)
When I heard the news of how dirty this war had become, with human shields of women and children, torture of POWs and the threat of bio-chemical warfare in urban Baghdad, the images would not let me rest. But then I recalled the Rebbe’s assurance, citing that ancient Midrash, “My child, why do you fear? All that I have done has been for your sake. The time of your redemption has arrived.”
A tzaddik sees a little further. Twelve years have passed — the vision is approaching its resolution. Yes, war is ugly, people are suffering. But the Rebbe’s vision is not one of apocalyptic doom. It is a story of liberation from modern-day Pharaohs, of determination and serenity in the face of malevolence and hatred, of a maturing of humankind as we clear the highways for an era of wisdom and peace.
The Zohar describes the tzaddik as one, “who turns bitterness to sweet, darkness to light.” The Rebbe reconstructed our interpretations of the darkest visions of the ancient prophets into a sweeter version, stirring in compassion with faith, kindness with hope. And as the Talmud tells us, “A tzaddik decrees, and the Holy One, blessed be He, fulfills.”
I sleep knowing that though this war is ugly and horrible, it is the rumblings that precede the time when G‑dly wisdom will cover the earth. May that time be closer than we can imagine.
My name, Tanya, was given to me by my mother. She named me after the movie actress who played in the movie AIRPLANE. IRONIC, isnt it..
Learning & Values »
Kabbalah, Chassidism and Jewish Mysticism » The Tanya » About The Book » About The Tanya
By Yisroel Cotlar
I’m beginning to study Tanya. I understand that this is a basic classic of Jewish thought for every Jew, and while I find the subject matter fascinating, it’s hard to believe Tanya is talking to a regular person. I’ve come such a long way in keeping Shabbat and eating kosher, and now I see that so much of my day is still kelipah, or in the words of yesterday’s Tanya “filthy garments.”
Can you help put all of this in perspective? How does this all fit in the basic Judaism that I have studied?
It’s beautiful to hear about your growth as a Jew. And what you’re discovering now is that this work never ends. A Jew is a work in progress. We are never “there.”
Now, about Tanya and basic Judaism: Halachah, the dos and don’ts of Judaism, is the guide for the Jew’s everyday life. It tells us good from bad, mitzvah from misconduct. From the moment we arise until we go to sleep at night, it provides us the information we need to ensure that every activity we do is in line with Torah. A food, song, book, or trip that is unkosher is off limits.
Tanya raises the bar.
The question isn’t only if it is unkosher. It is whether it is about us or about G‑d.
Tanya’s definition of good is using something in a way that reflects its G‑dly nature. Everything at its core is G‑dliness. (See section two of Tanya for more on this.) The question is only whether we sense that and use it accordingly.
If that isn’t apparent, there’s something getting in the way. That something isn’t necessarily bad. It may simply be a human/worldy/materialistic drive. But this layer obstructs our ability to see the object for what it truly is. Tanya calls that kelipah, meaning: a shell.
The pizza is delicious. Skiing is fun. The Grand Canyon is gorgeous.
Those are innocent statements. They just aren’t holy.
But when those same activities are done in mindful manner, the kelipah is peeled away, and the act becomes yet another way to serve G‑d.
How? The pizza lunch translates into energy to do a mitzvah. The skiing trip is used as a reward for a class that finished studying a Torah portion. The Grand Canyon becomes a place to appreciate the majesty of creation.
I know what you’re thinking. That sounds impossible? To find G‑d in every activity? What are we, angels? Why not just stick with the basics?
Here, there are two points to make:
1. It is indeed only the tzadik (a perfectly righteous individual) that reaches a level so selfless that every moment of the day contains a G‑dly purpose.
But that’s ok. G‑d doesn’t want a world of only tzadikim.
He wants a world of regular people like me and you who at least realize that such a dimension exists and strive to get there. A world where we never stop learning, working, and growing. A life where we study this idea, reflect upon it, and albeit once a day, act on it. This struggle is so meaningful to G‑d, in a sense, more precious to Him than perfection of the of a tzadik.
After all, Tanya was written for the average man, not the tzadik. A daily study of Tanya produces real results for the ordinary person. Change so subtle you hardly notice it happening to you, change so deep it leaves you with a new set of goals and aspirations . A materialistic pleasure that once made you content now leaves you empty, an act filled with a higher purpose that once seemed trivial now gives real and true satisfaction.
2. It may not seem so now, but Tanya makes basic Jewish life, not more difficult, but far easier.
I’ve used Photoshop for a number of years. I never bothered to learn the program, always managing to achieve my goal through trial and error. One day I was inspired to actually buy a tutorial. It took time and patience, (why do these books make things so complicated?) and I have to admit wanting to give it all up and going back to my system of pushing random buttons.
But I persisted. Today, I’m still no expert, but the difference is night and day.
Tanya does the very same thing to our Mitzvos.
To get yourself to do something, there has to be a desire. It’s hard to desire “do this, don’t do that.” There’s a struggle, a constant battle with the typical human urges with which we are all born. But instead of relying on nothing more than kicks and punches, Tanya provides a hyper-powered weapon—one that’s right at hand.
You see, the true, inner desire of every Jew is to fill the world with G‑d’s presence—by revealing G‑d’s presence within each thing and each activity. Tanya provides a strategy for bringing that inner desire out into the open. In the language of Tanya, “to reveal the hidden love.” Once out of its hiding place, this love provides such an intense energy that nothing can stand in its way. A life of Torah and mitzvahs becomes spontaneous and joyous. For more on this, see The Longer Shorter Way .
Keep learning. But learn with a teacher. We have a wide selection of classes online here at Chabad.org. Find the teacher you relate to best. Have patience, and you too will get that hyperpowered energy in your hands. At that point, no challenge will be too great.
BY YISROEL COTLAR
Rabbi Yisroel Cotlar is a Chabad rabbi in Cary, North Carolina. He is also a member of the Chabad.org Ask the Rabbi team. More from Yisroel Cotlar | RSS
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Thank you. this is just such a wonderful explanation. I never saw this before and it really helped me as well because I also felt somewhat like the person who wrote in this question.
Pressure! My emma was such a devoted student of Tanya that she gave me that name in the hope I would aspire to find G-dlyness in all aspects of life. We are always trying to develop more fully as jews…But I do feel pressure to live up to the teachings, and guilt when I fall short.
not everyone can take it While Tanya may be invaluable for those who have questions, not everybody has those questions. After a lifetime of raising kids, some joys, but mostly worries and sufferings, I think most people just want to walk the dog, sip a coffee at Starbucks, watch an old movie and maybe ask the kids how this computer app works. They shouldn’t feel guilty for that.
SSG Brooklyn, NY
G-d is never over demanding. If we can fly spaceships to outer orbit and master math, calculus, science, medicine & numerates then we must not become irrational when it comes to religious studies, even when challenged by opposing views from spiritually crippled (seemingly thwarted) agnostics and atheists, whom might co-concur that their disbelief makes it appear as overly demanding & challenging.
mark alcock dbn, za
wow. Nicely written! i admit i had the same question..Tanya sets huge expectations for us…this put things in a little bit more of a perspective though, at least for me 🙂 thanks.
Anonymous brooklyn, new york
How hyperpowered your words hype us. Your inspiring words make Tanya; which is rather enigmatic; seem so easy and yet so compelling to do. It is sad that i have heard no others so eloquently explain her intimacy with intriguing deep reasons that stir up the Jew, to embark on a never ending journey; incumbent with Tanya to aim to be a holy graduate …eventually fulfilled.
mark alcock Dbn, SA
Photoshop! Love the Photoshop simile……..myself, walked the same road – finally bit the bullet and bought a tutorial – almost as if overnight, all became clear. This is what The Tanya does for us – almost like studying Torah with just a dimming candle, when someone turns on 5000W fluorescent lights of The Tanya. I, for one, could not live without it, nor its exposition through the teaching of Rabbi Ben Tzion.
Thank G-d for our teachers!
Anonymous Hangzhou, China
You need a teacher If a student tries to learn everything the first year of school they will become hopelessly lost, and burn out. One has to start with beginning topics such as reading the daily Torah portion, Psalms, Ethics of the Fathers. Later, once a foundation has been developed, then you can move on to Mussar, Tanya, Kedushat Levi, and Likutey Moharan.
You must also find a teacher, and study with him or her weekly. This will avoid misunderstanding, or going down the wrong path of false torah knowlege.
Above all else, find a good teacher! Only then will you be able to really understand and appreciate Tanya. You will never learn it all, but enjoy the journey!
Dr. Harry Hamburger Miami, Florida
a message from the animal soul this may sound crazy for some who dont understand but as some cannot live without Torah, i know i would be personally lost in this world without Tanya. we are all different but Tanya makes one realize that we are all the same but in different forms.
john smith fort lauderdale, fl
Thank You Thank you questioner and thank you Rabbi for addressing this question. I’ve had it too; for as long as I’ve been learning Tanya. I enjoyed this dicussion greatly and gained insight from it; that wit G-d’s help I can put to good use.
Chani Slurzberg Philadelphia, PA
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The Tanya The “one size fits all” life manual
תניא The Book of Tanya in its Hebrew Original
e Archangel Gabriel is called the Angel of the Annunciation because it was he who informed Mary that she had found favor with the Lord and that she would conceive in her womb the Son of God. The lilies Gabriel carries symbolize the purity of Mary. The Archangel Gabriel also announced to Zacharias that he would have a son born to him who would be John the Baptist. It was the Archangel Gabriel who inspired Joan of Arc to go to the aid of the King of France. There is a tradition that Gabriel is the Angel of Birth. It is said that he carefully spends the nine months of the pregnancy watching over each unborn child and instructing that child on the necessary knowledge of Heaven that is an inherent part of all people. Just before birth, though, Gabriel touches each baby on the upper lip to make the child unable to remember all of the information about Heaven until the child returns to the spiritual state at death. The sign of Gabriel’s Touch is the cleft just below the nose. Gabriel is the Governor of Eden, the ruler of the Cherubim. He is one of the two angels mentioned by name in the Old Testament, along with Michael. Gabriel is the Angel of the Resurrection and the Angel of Mercy. He rules the first heaven, which is the heaven closest to humankind. In Jewish legend, it was Gabriel who dealt death and destruction to the sinful cities of Sodom and Gommorah. According to the Talmud (Sanhedrin 95b) it was Gabriel who destroyed the armies of Sennacherib “with a sharpened scythe which had been ready since Creation.” The poet Longfellow, in his ‘The Golden Legend’, makes Gabriel the angel of the moon who brings man the gift of hope. – – -TheArchangel Gabriel Source: http://www.orderofthewhitelion.com/Archangels@/Gabriel.htm
Gabriel is the third of the 4 Great Archangels, and Master of the Powers of Love.
To visualize Him, you need to turn your minds’ eye to the West, and imagine you are facing the shimmering image of this gentle Archangel of Water. His image before you is one of magnetic intensity; passive yet undeniably compelling. The rich copper tones of sunset reflect in the sheen of his hair, as he stands in a muslin robe of gossamer blue, bedecked by a mist of sequined stars, as fragile and tenuous as an evening sky. He holds a brilliant chalice, encrusted in precious jewels, and filled to overflowing with the waters of life. Gabriel touches the heart and emotions, for he is the bringer of Love, and his chalice represents the notion of compassion amidst the sorrows of life. -as in much the same way we can find more time to rest at the end of a challenging day, sharing our feelings with those we care about, and maybe finding some forgiveness for ourselves and the wrong doing of others. The chalice represents the Holy Grail, the Cup of contentment, tenderness and joy, and reminds us that there is no need to fight for Love, for we can find it within ourselves. Great strength can be found in vulnerability. Gabriel is sometimes seen with the silhouette of an Eagle, fused in silver across his breast, which shimmers as he moves. This represents the higher side of Scorpio, the invincible bird of prey that transcends the stars, and signals Transformation, Rebirth, and the rising of the Phoenix in a blaze of new life. If you watch carefully, Gabriel will smile down at you, an all pervading softness emanating from the lunar blue of his eyes, which hold within them the shadowy whisper of a hundred memories, born from yesterday. He turns and faces outwards across the shaded skies of dusk, raising the crystal flowing nectar high above his head, and remains, with wings outspread, in a stance of unconquerable receptivity.
The cup of Gabriel is the cup of Love, and lies in the depths of our feelings and the ebb and flow of the tides. – – -ARCHANGEL GABRIEL, MESSENGEROF GOD (San Gabriel, SaintGabriel Archangel, Angel Gabriel) Source: http://www.luckymojo.com/archangelgabriel.html by: CatYronwode
The Archangel Gabriel is the exalted Messenger of God, whose name means “The Strength of God” and whose deeds are recorded in the Jewish scriptures, where the spirit aided the Prophet Daniel in the interpretation of his dream-visions. Although an important Jewish angel, Gabriel has touched the lives of those of different religions as well. In the Christian Bible, it is Gabriel who brings important news to Zachary and the Virgin Mary concerning their children-to-be, and many Christians believe that at the Last Judgment Gabriel will blow a sacred trumpet horn. Furthermore, according to Muslims, Gabriel dictated the Koran to Mohammed over a period of 23 years and also accompanied the Prophet on his Night Journey. Some people believe that Gabriel is a female spirit; others hold that angels have no gender. Because of Gabriel’s role as a communicator and mediator between Heaven and Earth, Catholics hold the Archangel to be a Patron Saint of broadcasters, telecommunications workers, diplomats, messengers, postal workers, and stamp collectors. Because Gabriel helped the prophet Daniel interpret his dreams, those seeking similar aid with their own dream work may petition the Archangel for help. Additionally, because Gabriel announced the births of both John the Baptist and Jesus Christ, women hoping for heavenly assistance in trying to conceive children have reported benefits from keeping an Angel Gabriel novena candle burning in the home. The picture of the Angel Gabriel on this page is taken from a Lucky Mojo brand Catholic novena candle label and shows the spirit appearing as an annunciator, a bringer of good news and understanding. Because of Gabriel’s eminent position, holy cards, candles, and anointing oils bearing the likeness of this archangel have long been available in the marketplace. These are used by spiritual practitioners who wish to keep the image of Gabriel before them as a simple adjunct to their prayers and devotions. It is said that those who light a novena candle to the Archangel Gabriel will receive news they have been awaiting. There are a total of seven Archangels according to ancient Jewish beliefs — of whom four are most commonly petitioned, those being Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Uriel. In African American hoodoo folk magic or rootwork, two of them are associated with a powerful natural curio called Angelica Root or Archangel Root. Archangel Michael, the eldest, is used with Angelica Root as a defender of women. Archangel Gabriel who is concerned with the announcements of pregnancy, is allied with this root in its role as an herbal tonic for women’s reproductive health. It is my hope that the following prayer to the Archangel Gabriel will be of use to all, and will find service among those who request the intercession of this great and powerful heavenly being.
PRAYER TO ARCHANGEL GABRIEL Alleged to Help in Communication and Conception
Beloved Gabriel, Glorious Messenger of the Courtof Heaven and most excellent Saintand Archangel, firstminister of God, interpreter for Daniel theProphet, instructor ofZacharythe Priest, annunciator to our Holy Mother Mary, bringer of the word of truth:
Pleasefavor my devotionsand help me to loveand serve you, and, through you, to love and serve theLord.
O Gabriel Archangel, grantme what I most earnestlydesire and humblyaskfor with this prayer, for thehonor, glory, and fulfillment ofmysoul.
When a divine spirit grants your wish, it is customary, to give an offering of some kind in return. Because Archangel Gabriel, the Messenger of God, is generally depicted with white lilies or a trumpet horn, it is considered appropriate to make an offering of white flowers or to play music before the altar as a thank-offering.
I have some amazing news for you. It turns out that August 6th was an even better day to be born then you realized.
Because on that day, a truly spectacular set of circumstances having to do with the energy of the planets and the moon played a big role in the talents and abilities you have at your disposal today. Not only that, Tanya, you were also blessed with the ability to connect with the Archangel Gabriel, the ANGEL of ABUNDANCE.
If you know there is more to life than what you see on the surface, you’re right. Your intuition tells you there is more out there than meets the eye, and your intuition is right. You know you’re special, and you are.
People are magnetically drawn to you. Have you ever wondered why? You’re always there for your friends and family, and you even care deeply about the people you don’t know too. Have you ever questioned where these qualities came from? They are angelic qualities, and it is in your spiritual make-up.
Tanya, your kindness was heaven-sent and given to you by the Archangel Gabriel on the day you were born. This is why you are the caring, generous soul you are today.
Instead of being watched over, you have been watching over everyone else. NOW IS THE TIME to RECONNECT with the very Angel who has made you into the wonderful, caring person you are.
Maybe you’ve had the feeling that you were looking down at yourself, as if you were removed from your body. Or maybe you’ve had a bad experience, or even a near-death experience, and felt an otherworldly presence helping you through. These are examples of angel encounters. Maybe you’ve had an encounter of your own but didn’t understand it for what it was, or know how to hold on to that hallowed and glorious feeling. It always gives me pause when people say they don’t believe in Angels and think that everything happens by chance.
A powerful Angel is within your reach. Once he is properly channeled, he will bring protection, guidance, prosperity and love back into your life. But first you need to know how to re-establish your connection with him.
I Have an Instrument that Calls Out to the Angel in Charge of Abundance.
A secret shrouded in mystery for 2,000 years, that instrument is the heavenly Horn of Plenty. Maybe you’ve noticed that angels are often shown holding trumpets — especially Gabriel. Trumpets and horns are the mainstays of angels. With this Horn of Plenty, you can call out to Gabriel, the Angel of Abundance and live the life you’ve always dreamed of.
Would it make you happy to know that on a certain date in the very near future, you could begin living a carefree and spontaneous life, a life free from financial worry and filled with all the things that matter the most to you in the world?
In the year 2016, on April 13th to be specific, abundant wealth and a bountiful life can be yours.
Own your own house, one with cathedral ceilings. Prepare dinner for your loved ones on granite countertops and cook red velvet cake in your professional designer oven. Eat caviar and drink champagne. Slip into your Jacuzzi under the light of the silvery moon. Drive fast in a convertible through the Southwest with the top down and the music blasting. Shop as much as you like in any store you wish without worrying about the price of anything. Fly to Europe first-class with your family or dearest friends. All of this, Tanya, is within your reach – you’ve just got to reconnect with Archangel Gabriel and grab it!
What I want for you is a life of plenty filled with more joy than you can handle, more friends than you can keep track of, more stacks of hundred dollar bills than you can count. I want you to live like there’s no tomorrow, and seize the opportunities that life presents you with today.
The Horn of Plenty is from the Latin, cornu copiae, meaning an inexhaustible abundance of richness and plentitude. In addition to being strongly linked to angels, 2,000 years ago the Greeks believed in an enormous magical horn that overflowed with dazzling gold and silver coins. Pursued by many, envied by all, The Horn of Plenty brought great wealth to whoever possessed it.
The story of this beautiful and valuable cornucopia jewel reappears in the story of Zeus’s birth. Zeus had a father named Cronus, who had overthrown his own father, and a mother named Rhea. Cronus learned he would suffer the same destiny with one of his own children, and in order to try and prevent this prophecy from happening, he swallowed all of his children as soon as they were born. But by the sixth, Rhea devised a plan to stop him. She found a stone and wrapped it in swaddling clothes and gave it to Cronus. Cronus swallowed the stone and Rhea crept away to a crystal cave where she gave birth to Zeus.
Zeus was nursed by Amalthea, the divine goddess of nourishment, and who had the power to change from a beautiful nymph into a goat with soaring horns that curled all the way to her back.
She nursed and raised Zeus, feeding him milk and honey. One day, legend has it, one of her horns broke off so she filled it with herbs, pomegranates, grapes and other bounteous fruits. In return, Zeus bestowed upon it the magical ability to grant wishes. When the receiver made a wish, the horn would be filled with whatever the receiver wished to have.
Because of its close tie to power, wealth and good luck, the cornucopia appeared on ancient coins all over the world for centuries to come. It is the most important symbol of plenty, wealth and the fulfillment of wishes in the mythology. Now it’s your turn to let the cornucopia work its centuries-old magic for you.
Tanya, grab hold of this rare opportunity while you have the chance.
When I put everything together – this important date, the unique day you were born and what it means, the value of silver (which has never been higher by the way) and the link between the horn of plenty and the Archangel Gabriel, the Angel of Abundance, I knew I had to contact you immediately.
Tanya, this good luck amulet is so beautiful you’d wear it even if it wasn’t going to change your future, but it will! And by wearing this special emblem of power close to your heart you will have a direct connection to the Archangel Gabriel.
ochian is a name often applied to an occult or angelic language recorded in the private journals of John Dee and his colleague Edward Kelley in late 16th-century England.  Kelley was a spirit medium who worked with Dee in his magical investigations. The men claimed that the language was revealed to them by the Enochian angels. The language is integral to the practice of Enochian magic.
The language found in Dee and Kelley’s journals encompasses a limited textual corpus, only some of it with English translations. Several linguists, notably Donald Laycock, have studied Enochian, and argue against any extraordinary features in the language.
Dee’s journals did not describe the language as “Enochian”, instead preferring descriptors like “Angelical”, the “Celestial Speech”, the “Language of Angels”, the “First Language of God-Christ”, the “Holy Language” or “Adamical” because, according to Dee’s Angels, it was used by Adam in Paradise to name all things. The term “Enochian” comes from Dee’s assertion that the Biblical Patriarch Enoch had been the last human (before Dee and Kelley) to know the language.
Dee’s Angelic language According to Tobias Churton in his text The Golden Builders,  the concept of an Angelic or antediluvian language was common during Dee’s time. If one could speak with angels, it was believed one could directly interact with them.
In 1581, Dee mentioned in his personal journals that God had sent “good angels” to communicate directly with prophets. In 1582, Dee teamed up with the seer Edward Kelley, although Dee had used several other seers previously.  With Kelley’s help as a scryer, Dee set out to establish lasting contact with the angels. Their work resulted, among other things, in the reception of the Enochian or Angelical language.
According to Dee’s journals,  Angelical was supposed to have been the language God used to create the world, and which was later used by Adam to speak with God and the angels, and to name all things in existence. After his Fall from Paradise, Adam lost the language and constructed a form of proto-Hebrew based upon his vague memory of Angelical. This proto-Hebrew, then, was the universal human language until the time of the Confusion of Tongues at the Tower of Babel. After this, all the various human languages were developed, including an even more modified Hebrew (which we know as “Biblical Hebrew”). From the time of Adam to the time of Dee and Kelley, Angelical was hidden from humans with the single exception of the patriarch Enoch who, according to the angels, recorded the “Book of Loagaeth” (Speech from God) for humanity. The book was then lost again in the Deluge of Noah.
The reception of Enochian started on March 26, 1583, when Kelley reported visions in the crystal of the twenty-one lettered alphabet characteristic of the language. A few days later, Kelley started receiving what became the first corpus of texts in the purported Angelic language. This resulted in the book Liber Loagaeth (“Book [of] Speech from God”). The book consists of 49 great letter tables, or squares made of 49 by 49 letters (however, each table has a front and back side—making 98 49×49 tables in all).  Dee and Kelley said the angels never translated the texts in this book.
The other set of Enochian texts was received through Kelley about a year later, in Kraków. These are more important since they come with English translations, thus providing the basis for the Enochian vocabulary. The texts comprise 48 poetic verses, which in Dee’s manuscripts are called “Claves Angelicae”, or “Angelic Keys”. The Keys are assigned certain functions within the magical system. Dee was apparently intending to use these Keys to “open the 49 Gates of Wisdom/Understanding” represented by the 49 magic squares in Liber Loagaeth:
Veh – C – As English ‘S’ or ‘K’ Ged – G – As English ‘J’ Gon – I / Y occassionally as ‘J’, otherwise English ‘EE’ Van – Either English ‘U’ or ‘V’ (Double Van / UU –As English ‘W’) Mals-Na – PH – As English ‘F’ Veh-Na – CH – As Greek ‘Chi’ or English ‘TCH’. Un-Van – AU – Similar to Greek ‘AF’ Ger – Q – As Semitic “Qaf” or “Qoph” (guttural) or As English ‘QU’ Ceph – Z – As Old English ‘ZOD’
Aleister Crowley suggested the following pronunciation:
All letters are sounded as in English with these exceptions: A – ah – as in “fAther” C – k – as in “Cake” E – eh – as in “grEy” I – ee – as in “fEEt” O – long o – as in “smOke” Q – k – as in “Qabalah” U – long u – as in “fOOl”
Most Enochian magicians agree that ‘correct’ pronunciation is secondary to the focus and intent of the magician.