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Tanya Rabbati, a 16th-century Italian code of Jewish law, is an unrelated work with a similar name. For other uses, see Tanya (disambiguation).
The Tanya (Hebrew: 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 is composed of 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 philosophy and 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.
As one of the founding figures of Hasidic mysticism, Schneur Zalman and his approach in the Tanya are venerated by other Hasidic schools, although they tend to avoid its meditative methods. In Chabad, it is called "the Written Torah of Hasidus", with the many subsequent Chabad writings being relatively "Oral Torah" explanation. In it, Schneur Zalman brings the new interpretations of Jewish mysticism by the Baal Shem Tov, founder of Hasidism, into philosophical articulation and definition. This intellectual form synthesises Hasidic Divine Omnipresence and Jewish soulfulness with other historical components of Rabbinic literature, embodied in the Talmud, Medieval philosophy, Musar (ethical) literature and Lurianic Kabbalah. The Tanya has therefore been seen in Chabad as the defining Hasidic text, and a subsequent stage of Jewish mystical evolution.
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