A pioneering dialogue - reading the TANYA for Eucharistic tradition A workshop for 'seekers' and those struggling with addiction / existential depression
I am thankful beyond words to the late Rabbi Joshua Gordon. It was through his online classes that I come across with the spiritual classic, the Tanya, written by Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liad (1745-1812). The author of the Tanya, a hugely influential 18th-century work of Jewish spirituality, was considered the founder of the Chabad (Lubavitch) movement. His 'spirituality of the soul' has become my daily companion. I am reading the Tanya as a Christian, and as a priest. This is not a contradiction. Our traditions, for historical reasons, have developed separately. There were tangential contacts between Judaism and Christianity. Of course, these contact between ‘texts’, or, at the level of history, were important; in the latter case, tragically painful. However, there never has been a ‘convergence’ between our traditions. Perhaps, at the end of the day, regarding the self-sufficiency of these identities, there is no need for this. Yet, I am tempted to define the Jewish – Christian relationship in terms of missed dialogues; with all, what this loss entails.
In this workshop, I would like ‘to understand Rabbi Schneur’s model of the praying self, and apply it to our sacramental tradition. The vision of our human self, when it is related properly to its sacred ground, God, has a a healing effect. When we know who we are, how the 'graced' equilibrium can be regained in us between the 'godly soul' and the 'animal soul', this is a precious moment of being healed. I am genuinely interested in the healing potentials of the 'anthropology of grace' or Divine Glory. It is purely the individual's personal decision to undergo this 'restorative journey'. The key of this 'therapeutic contemplation' is reading Tanya daily.