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On the Works of the Alter Rebbe

Systematization, Explanation and Arbitration: Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi’s Unique Legislative Style
The Shulchan Aruch ha-Rav is a halachic work that has no equal for conciseness combined with clarity, and legislation combined with explanation. What goals did Rabbi Schneur Zalman set for himself in this work? Why did it earn such widespread recognition?
Living with the Times: Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi's Oral Teachings
Scholarship is usually associated with literacy and text, but in the Jewish tradition, oral discourse has always played at least an equal role. Text is static. It is both limited and limiting. But a conversation is fluid and the possibilities are endless...
The Chassidic Prayerbook
The Arizal’s Prayer Liturgy - Redacted by Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi
For some seventy years chasidim had noted the variations in the chasidic liturgy in the margins of their traditional Ashkenaz prayer books. Of course this situation was far from ideal, and led to all kinds of liturgical and grammatical inaccuracies. Rabbi Shneur Zalman’s prayer book was the first authoritative chasidic prayer book, and likely the first ever codification of the Arizal’s prayer liturgy into a complete and unified text.
Immanent Transcendence
Chassidim, mitnagdim, and the debate about tzimtzum
How did a scholarly disagreement amongst the Mediterranean kabbalists in the late-1600s morph into the explosive debate between the Chassidim and their Mitnagdic opponents more than half a century later?
The Physical World According to Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi
Which is loftier—spirit or matter? The soul or the body? The teachings of Rabbi Schneur Zalman, founder of Chabad Chassidism, extol the first over the second, and then the second over the first, offering a unique and life-altering vision of reality.
Toil of the Mind and Heart
Diachronic perspectives on the leadership and oral teachings of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi
A new anthology sheds new light on the historical development of his leadership, the crystallization of his ideology, and the impact of Rabbi Shlomo of Karlin and Rabbi Avraham of Kalisk on the emergence of Chabad.
Faith and Reason
Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi’s Synthesis of Two Never-Intersecting Planes
The fact that you cannot rationally understand something is no reason not to study it.
Alienation and Faith
Between Tanya Ch. 32 and the Lonely Man of Faith
We detect two tendencies of thought on the place of alienation and loneliness in the Jewish analysis of the emotions. To state this contrast is not to formulate an opposition; simply to open another gate...
Immanent Transcendence
Chassidim, mitnagdim, and the debate about tzimtzum
How did a scholarly disagreement amongst the Mediterranean kabbalists in the late-1600s morph into the explosive debate between the Chassidim and their Mitnagdic opponents more than half a century later?
Can You Square the Circle of Faith?
How to preserve an open mind and a unified core of cohesive meaning
Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi articulated a model of divine unity that expands the quintessence of faith into the circle of reason, and fits the square of dissonance into the circle of life.
The Idealistic Realism of Jewish Messianism
The real deal on Chabad’s apocalyptic calculations, and why Jews have always predicted elusive ends.
To live messianically is not to abandon the present moment, but to live the present moment so completely that it transcends its own limitations.
The Second Refinement and the Role of the Tzaddik
How Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi discovered a new way to serve G-d
A teaching about the dream of Joseph, invoking the Kabbalistic narrative of the shattered vessels, and using gender to recast the tzaddik's role in the universal hierarchy of the cosmos—with which R. Schneur Zalman’s chassidic path began.
A Dwelling Place for G-d in the Lower Realms
The life, teachings and works of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, founder of Chabad.