Tanya and Heresy


Moshe Ben-Chaim


The following quote was sent to me by a friend, and is taken from the Tanya:


“The second, uniquely Jewish soul is truly part of G-d above.”

“A part of G-d above” is a quotation from Scripture (Job, 31:2). The Alter Rebbe adds the word “truly” to stress the literal meaning of these words. For, as is known, some verses employ hyperbolic language. For example, the verse describing “great and fortified cities reaching into the heavens” is clearly meant to be taken figuratively, not literally. In order that we should not interpret the phrase “ a part of G-d above” in a similar manner, the Alter Rebbe adds the word “truly”, thus emphasizing that the Jewish soul is quite literally a part of G-d above.”


(Lessons In Tanya,” published by “Kehot” (mainstream Lubavitcher Press) with a “Preface” by the Rebbe.)



Maimonides and all the Rabbis affirm that we can know nothing about G-d. Furthermore, G-d has no parts, and is not similar to anything, as the prophet stated so clearly:


“And (G-d is) not like one man that may be divided into many individual parts…’ and also, ‘…the Chachamim (wise men) denied G-d as being composite or subject to division’, and, ‘the prophet said (Isaiah, 40:25), ‘To what shall your equate Me that I should be similar, says G-d?’ (Principle III)” 


We define this quote from Tanya as absolute heresy. This is a most grave sin, as all of our Torah performances are useless if we have any incorrect notion about G-d. This quote denies the words of the prophet, and completely corrupts the words of Job, 31:1,2:


“A treaty have I made with my eye; for what shall I gaze at a virgin? And what portion shall I have with G-d above, and an inheritance of G-d on high?”


Here, Job declares he is upright, never gazing lustfully. Job explains that in doing so, one forfeits his “portion with G-d”. This is reasonable, and in accordance with G-d’s system of Reward and Punishment. But Tanya distorts the word “portion”, not as the end of the verse clarifies as “inheritance”, but wrongly, ascribing “parts” to G-d. This verse in Job simply means that Job admits he will forfeit his “portion” (inheritance) with G-d. Through sin, Job says he will lose this world and the next. Job is not describing G-d, that He has parts, G-d forbid. Job is describing his inheritance.


Rabbi Bachya says in Duties of the Heart, (Gate of Unity, Chap. 3):


“Whoever neglects to study [this subject] (unity of G-d) conducts himself disgracefully, and is counted among those who fall short in both knowledge and practice.”


This yesode (principle) of G-d’s unity is of such paramount importance to the authentic, Jewish concept of G-d, the “Shema Yisrael” must be read twice daily where we affirm, “G-d is One”. The Torah and the Rabbis share one voice; G-d has no parts.


We must be vigilant against any thought, which denies Judaism’s fundamentals.