OPENING THE HEART
WITH THE TANYA
What is this course?
The Tanya is the magnum opus of the great mystic Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, affectionately referred to as the Alter Rebbe, who founded the Chabad-Lubavitch Chasidic movement. Written in the late eighteenth century, it is considered to be one of the most extraordinary books of spiritual teachings ever written. Tanya is based on Kabbalah, and it guides us to achieve harmony of body and soul, of earthliness and spirituality.
This remarkable book, which places great emphasis on joy, helps us to learn how we can each elevate our soul to a higher level of awareness and understanding, until our objectives and aspirations are in alignment with our Divine potential.
This online course, taught by Yiscah Smith, will explore specific chapters that discuss the quest for personal unity as a prelude to sensing unity in the cosmic order, which in turn is an essential condition for the realization of the Divine unity throughout Creation.
Together, we will experience how the spiritual practice of cultivating the opening of the heart paves the way to experience personal unity. The Ba'al HaTanya (as the author is sometimes referred to) offers a series of practical suggestions for attaining inner harmony, always with the emphasis on joy.
In each of our eight sessions, we will learn about, and then practice together, a specific approach to opening our heart and experiencing an elevated consciousness, which through continued practice we can then integrate into every aspect of our daily lives.
All texts will be provided with clear translations, and no prior knowledge or experience with the subject matter is necessary.
This course is welcoming of advanced students and novices alike.
How does it work?
The course consists of eight classes, of approximately 1.25 hours each.
The classes are recorded (audio and video) and participants can watch or listen to the recordings of the classes at any time they like.
Each class includes two essential components:
1) A close and interactive text-based study of the Alter Rebbe’s teachings that address a specific theme (see below).
2) A guided meditative practice focusing on the particular theme studied in that class, followed by sharing.
There is an open channel to the teacher for every participant, to process the journey through the teachings and practices of each class.
The Eight Sessions
1 - Transforming sadness over material worldly concerns into joy.
2 - Transforming sadness over mistakes made in spiritual matters into joy.
3 - Transforming sadness caused by distracting thoughts into joy.
4 - Transforming the dullness of the heart towards greater sensitivity.
5 - Cultivating humility and broken heartedness as steps towards opening of the heart.
6 - Transforming the dullness of the heart into joy.
7 - Opening of the heart leads to loving one's fellow as oneself.
8 - The importance of meditating on the Divine unity, moving to deeper faith and then to great joy.
"In addition to developing a stronger sense of spirituality, working with Yiscah has given me a renewed framework to find magic and transformation in my life and work. Being able to better see the splendor of life's smaller moments on a regular basis has greatly improved the joy that I derive from my job and family life."
- Mitchell M.
"Learning with Yiscah Smith: nothing short of life-changing."
- Jyll Bradley, London, UK
"Yiscah's class allowed me to cultivate deeper awareness of my own life and of the world around me. Her class touched the depths of my soul, awakening a consciousness that permeated into my everyday life. Through this class, I began to view my life as a moving meditation, feeling more in harmony with all that was going on around me. Yiscah is a wellspring of knowledge, and a masterful teacher. She meets each student where they're at, presenting information in a way that is comprehensive for the newest student, and enriching for the most senior student.
She provides space for students to interact, participate, ask questions, and ultimately integrate the text into their own lives. In Yiscah's class, students experience the text in a way that is absolutely alive, interactive, and ultimately life-enhancing in the most authentic way."
- Yael Weberman
"It is so rare to meet a soul, mostly because we have learned to cover and protect ours when we go out into the world. But unexpectedly I saw hers, and it was authentic, and I fell in love. Having seen Yiscah Smith lecture in person, I entered her mentorship even though I had no background in Jewish spiritual studies and no Hebrew familiarity. Our weekly sessions opened my heart, changed my worldview, and transformed my ideas, even for a business. I work with personal history and I started a non-profit organization and a large-scale neighborhood oral history project to raise awareness and generate collaborative actions to better the Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro; believing, as Yiscah showed me, that together we could shine a light to illuminate spaces darkened by negativity, isolation, violence, and pollution. In Yiscah's meditation study groups, I have found a community of thinkers and doers who ask deep questions and share a love for the world and the work. It's always illuminating to meditate with her, I breath in each word and breath into each word, emitting love, joy, light."
- Alexandra Joy Forman, president-director, the Urca Institute, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.