Tanya’s Heresy III


Moshe Ben-Chaim



Reader: Dear Rabbi Moshe Ben Chaim: I saw your articles on the Tanya, and it appeared to me that you had a good point when you said that the Tanya contradicts the 13 Principles of Maimonides. I told my rabbi about this apparent contradiction, and he suggested as follows: The Tanya is, in fact, not saying that a person's soul is a part of G-d, as a piece of pizza is part of a pie. Rather, a person's soul is a part of G-d in the sense of a candle lit from a torch is a "part" of that torch. The candle does not take away from the original flame. Thank you for your time.


Mesora: Your rabbi misquotes. His candle analogy is borrowing from the case where the seventy elders were imbued with wisdom from Moses. However, such an instance can in no way be transposed onto God. This is a fatal error, and a baseless equation. Simply equating cases, which may seem to have slight similarities, without due reflection, and at times, just to offer an answer, does such great harm to the Torah, and the questioner. One forfeits his eternal life in the next world when possessing such heretic views.


This is what God Himself says about any analogy made to Him: “To what shall your equate Me that I should be similar?” so says G-d.” (Isaiah, 40:25) God clearly denies man the ability to create any analogy to Him, as your rabbis just made.


God also said, “For man cannot know Me while alive.” (Exod. 33:21) God says there is no knowledge of God available to man, as God told the greatest of men, Moses, in this verse. Now, if Moses could not possess any knowledge of God, how does your rabbi feel he may surpass Moses with his positive description of God?


We cannot describe anything about God, primarily because we have no understanding of what He is. I don’t understand how rabbis and teachers deviate so grossly and carelessly from the most central of sources, I mean the Torah’s very words, and those words of the Prophets. It is very disturbing, and they should not be teaching if this is their view. They oppose the Torah and harm the many in a manner, which is irrevocable. Inform him of my concerned comments and these sources.


If one wishes to teach the Torah, he must possess knowledge of the Torah.