Our upcoming course, Soul Maps, introduces you to the Tanya, a 200-year-old text with a revolutionary new look at human psychology. It provides Kabbalah-based tools to help you understand yourself.
Until the publication of Tanya, the Kabbalah was an esoteric discipline that was studied and understood by only a select few. Tanya, however, sought to make the teachings of Kabbalah practical, relevant, and accessible. Its numerous reprints attest to its success in achieving this goal.
A precursor of the modern self-help genre, Rabbi Shneur Zalman authored Tanya as a substitute for his personal mentorship. If you attend this course, you will experience six virtual sessions of spiritual counseling from a master of Kabbalah and the nature of the soul. You will come to understand the source of guilt, conflict, and confusion, and find useful strategies for developing joy, purpose, and direction in everyday life.
If you are such a good person, why do you sometimes feel so mean inside? And if you are such a bad person, why are you plagued by fits of conscience? Just as Freud developed the vocabulary that enable you to speak about your psyche, the Tanya provides the key terms and constructs that allow you to speak about your soul . . . or souls. What kind of person are you? What is the source of inner conflict? This lesson teaches you the words you need in order to answer the question.
Getting A Grip on Yourself
It can be enlightening to know why you succumb to temptations that you wish you had resisted. But is there a strategy to gaining self-control? This lesson provides practical guidelines for overcoming weakness and learning to control behavior.
Sync or Sink
When your heart’s passion pulls you one way and your measured mind pulls another way, the disconnect can be agonizing. This lesson will teach you two methods for aligning reason and emotion, so you can reduce stress and live decisively.
Constant doubt and emotional unhappiness can gradually sap you of the strength and will to change. But joy provides the boost that allows you to live each day with enthusiasm and resolve. This lesson provides useful perspectives that can help you generate a positive attitude.
The Big Picture
Even after learning methods for overcoming personal challenges and pursuing goodness, you may still wonder why it all matters. What is the purpose of imperfect attempts at perfection? Do your human failings condemn you to be a personal failure? Or might your weaknesses provide an opportunity for a making a unique contribution to the world? Lesson Five allows you to make peace with your personal struggles as you consider your place in the larger scheme of things.
Have a Heart
Most of Tanya focuses on how you can gain control of the way you act, even if your feelings and motives are not always pure. For those who are patient enough to pursue a slow fix, this final lesson provides meditations and guidelines for reshaping your essential nature over time, while recognizing that the true key to living purposefully is behaving purposefully.
"Most moral works address themselves to personal problems and to the ways that a person can attain specific goals in specific areas . . .
Tanya, by contrast, does not, in the main, address specific problems but delves into their root causes, seeking to distill the predicaments of humankind down to their most elementary maxims and to solve them in the most comprehensive way. . .
Tanya trains its students to see the many thousands of complexities, doubts, and drives within them as expressions of a single basic problem: the struggle between good and evil within the human soul.
Although the book is written with great restraint, it energetically and dramatically depicts life as an immense battle . . . This fight and our ability to conduct our lives within it are the very purpose of the creation of humankind. As Tanya explains it, this status is not simply the confrontation of good and evil,but rather the ongoing encounter between two components of the soul: the animal and the divine. The tension is between the part of the soul that draws us downward toward the earth and the part that aspires upward toward the divine.
The conflict, then, is not a war of annihilation in which man seeks to destroy certain parts of his soul, rather it is an effort to educate all parts of the uman soul, to create within them a consciousness and a feeling-- until their aspirations merge with those of the divine soul, so that the person reaches a state of perfect harmony between body and soul, between the earthly and the transcendent."
Rabbi Adin Even-Israel (Steinsaltz), Scholar and social critic best known for his monumental translation of and commentary on the Talmud. He is also the founder of a worldwide network of Jewish educational institutions supported by The Aleph Society in the United States.