Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Travels with Tanya

Jewish Books Being Printed Throughout New Mexico:  Hot news from Raton and elsewhere in the Land of Enchantment - Abq Jew has learned that the Chabadniks are coming, and they're bringing Tanya with them.

Actually, that's not quite true. The Chabadniks are coming, but they're printing Tanyas after they arrive. Tanya?, Abq Jew hears you ask. Tanya is the defining text of the Lubavitcher (Chabad) Hassidim.  And Wikipedia explains:
The Tanya (תניא) is an early work of Hasidic philosophy, by Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the founder of Chabad Hasidism, first published in 1797. Its formal title is Likkutei Amarim (ליקוטי אמרים, Hebrew, "collection of statements"), but is more commonly known by its opening word, Tanya, which means "it was taught in a beraita". It comprises five sections that define Hasidic mystical psychology and theology as a handbook for daily spiritual life in Jewish observance.

The Tanya is the main work of the Chabad approach to Hasidic mysticism, as it defines its general interpretation and method. The subsequent extensive library of the Chabad school, authored by successive leaders, builds upon the approach of the Tanya. Chabad differed from "Mainstream Hasidism" in its search for philosophical investigation and intellectual analysis of Hasidic Torah exegesis. This emphasised the mind as the route to internalising Hasidic mystical dveikus (emotional fervour), in contrast to general Hasidism's creative enthusiasm in faith. As a consequence, Chabad Hasidic writings are typically characterised by their systematic intellectual structure, while other classic texts of general Hasidic mysticism are usually more compiled or anecdotal in nature.
How did the Alter Rebbe (Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi) come to write the Tanya? An announcement from Chabad of New Mexico explains:
The founder of Chassidisim, the holy Baal Shem Tov, in a famous letter to his brother- in- law, printed in 'Kesser ShemTov' writes, that on Rosh Hashanah, 1747, he experienced an elevation of the soul to the celestial spheres. When he came to the abode of the righteous Moshiach, (a Jewish leader like Moses, a paternal descendent of King David, who will redeem each and every one of us from exile and usher in the completion of G-d's plan of creation, when, as the Maimonides states, there will be no war, no jealousy or famine, all people will live in true peace and harmony, delicacies will be as abundant as dust, and the entire world will be involved in higher endeavors, knowing G-d, and the world will be filled with the knowledge with G-d, as the waters cover the seas, thus, bringing heaven down to earth).

The Baal Shem Tov asked our righteous Moshiach, "When will the Master come?" Moshiach responded, "When your wellsprings shall spread forth to the outside." The Baal Shem Tov was the founder of Chassidus teachings and the Chassidic movement. Moshiach's answer meant that the world will be ready for his coming, when the wellsprings of Chassidus, (which is the soul of the Torah), would reach all Jews, i.e., Chassidus will pave the way for Moshiach's coming.
Ever since, the dissemination of Chassidus doctrines and teachings, has assumed top priority. In 1796 the first Lubavitch/Chabad Rebbe, the Alter Rebbe, founder of Chabad Chassidism, published, what was to become known as the "Written Torah of Chassidism", the Tanya, revolutionizing Jewish thought forever.
In 1984 the Rebbe, (7th Rebbe of Chabad), launched a world-wide campaign to print new additions of the Tanya, in every locale where Jews reside.  He explained; that by printing Tanyas locally, we ensure that ALL Jews have the wherewithal to study its teachings.  It also fulfills the answer of Moshiach to the Baal Shem Tov, that, not only the Baal Shem Tov's teachings spread forth, but also the wellsprings themselves, which is the source of the teachings. This means, that the source of the Tanya, becomes every locale where Jews reside, through printing it locally.

The Rebbe added that when a Jew sees that the Tanya he/she holds is an edition that has been printed in his/her very own city or town, he/she will be more enthusiastic about studying it.

So, Abq Jew reminds you, the Chabadniks are coming. The announcement from Chabad of New Mexico further explains:
This summer ... Chabad of New Mexico will be embarking on a monumental project, to print new editions of the Tanya in every locale throughout the state of New Mexico. 
This will also be the first time, since creation, that many of our cities and towns will receive the merit, of a holy Jewish sefer (book), being printed in its very own neighborhood.

Chabad will have Rabbinical students, traveling throughout the state, with all necessary printing equipment, and stopping in every locale where Jews reside. There, they will print a new edition (of at least one-hundred copies) of the Tanya. 
We encourage and ask all Jews to please participate in this monumental event, by joining or hosting the students and join in the studying from the new Tanyas, hot-off-the-press!  Also, please forward this email to your local friends. 
To date, over six thousand (!) unique editions have been printed in cities from Shepperton, Australia, to Alma Ata, Kazakhstan, from Juan, Sweden, to Reykjavik, Iceland. Before arriving in each city in New Mexico, the central Tanya printing office, responsible for coordinating the worldwide operation, will assign an individual edition number and title page for our Tanya. Did you know, that in the back of each Tanya, it lists all six thousand editions and which city they were printed in? 
Following every printing, the students will celebrate for approximately one hour, sharing their experience, studying together from the new editions, and celebrating with snacks, drinks and L'chaims.

In smaller communities, we can definitely use local help & knowledge with direction, logistics and getting the word out. Chabad will be printing new editions of the Tanya in every city or town were Jews reside in New Mexico, even if there resides only one Jew!

Since years ago, Albuquerque and Santa Fe have already merited to have editions printed, a second edition will not be necessary. Nonetheless, we encourage all Jews in Albuquerque and Santa Fe to participate in neighboring locations.
Abq Jew has it on reliable authority that the Chabadniks will be visiting Raton on Wednesday July 11.  As for future itinerary & schedule - please contact Chabad of New Mexico at 505 880 1181.  Or you can call the students directly at 347 987 0771.

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