Have you seen a cooking show lately? The type with show-stopping desserts and 10-course meals that can be completed in 60 minutes? You know, all you need are some “essential tools” and about 15 hours of prep time, but don’t worry, it’sWhat tools do we have at our disposal? perfectly attainable for even the most novice in the kitchen.

It’s a tease, and makes me revert to being a teenager, saying “right,” with a mental eyeball roll.

We like when expectations are realistic. When things seem accessible. And we often feel so helpless when they are not.

This is the theme of the book of Tanya. In the Torah, G‑d tells the Jews that keeping the mitzvot is not out of reach. “Rather, [this] thing is very close to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can fulfill it.” (Deuteronomy 30:14)

We desperately want to feel that way, but what tools do we have at our disposal? How is it so “close”?

The 53 chapters of Tanya have some answers. And learning Tanya makes it clear that within every Jew lies the ability to serve G‑d.

Tanya Bit: G‑d has realistic and “age-appropriate” expectations of me. Fulfilling His commandments is within my reach.

(Inspired from the title page of Tanya)