Should I Learn Tanya If I Don’t Understand It?
June 5, 2019
The Rebbe in #1169, Chinuch, From the Rebbe's pen, Tanya

An answer from the Rebbe about the need to learn Chassidus, even if you don’t understand it in the desired depth:

איך לחלק הזמן בין לימוד לעצמו ועזר לאחרים – מובן שאין כל העיתים שווים אבל פשוט שצ”ל [שצריך להיות] שניהם וכפס”ד [וכפסק דין] חז”ל שמביאו כל האומר אין לי אלא תורה כו’ –

מובנת הפליאה לשאלתו הללמוד תניא אף שאינו מבינים כו’ – דלמה לא יבין כשאך ילמוד ברצון להבין בודאי שיבין.

ואף שלא יבין כהבנת אלה שלמדו כו”כ [כמה וכמה] זמן וכו’ – הרי גם בלימוד החומש גמרא וכו’ כן הוא.

וכלל בכל חלקי התורה יגעת ולא מצאת אל תאמין.



Regarding your question, “How should I divide my time between learning myself and helping others,” obviously the approach may not at all times be the same, however it is obvious that both are necessary, and as the ruling of Chazal that you cite in your letter, “Anyone who says he has nothing other than Torah, does not even have Torah.” Rather you must also engage in acts of loving kindness.

My wonder on your question, whether you should study Tanya even though you don’t understand it, is understandable: why won’t you understand it? If only you would learn with a desire to understand, you will surely understand.

Although your understanding won’t be on the level of the understanding of those who have studied for quite a while – the same is true with learning Chumash and Gemara, etc.

The principle concerning all parts of Torah, is that “If a person says to you: I have labored and not found success, do not believe him.”

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