The first section of the Tanya, Likkutei Amarim, comprises fifty-three chapters. In The Steinsaltz Tanya, this section has been divided in two. Volume 1 contains chapters 1–32, and volume 2 comprises chapters 33–53.
This first section of the Tanya, which its author refers to as the “Book of Beinonim,” presents a novel human and ethical archetype: the beinoni, or intermediate-level person. The beinoni is neither righteous nor wicked, but he is not an average person either. The beinoni is a category of its own, which expresses the ideal level that each and every individual, in accordance with his specific capabilities, can and should aspire to achieve.
The Tanya is presented in a format that invites a person to put the ideas presented here into practice, one concept building on another, one leading to the next, so that the reader is guided toward attaining the level of beinoni that is the focus of this book. Its ideas are condensed, its words packed with meaning, and the one who studies the Tanya cannot help but appreciate its subtle and beautifully crafted writing style.
The Steinsaltz Tanya includes a vocalized Hebrew Tanya text and a groundbreaking translation of the Tanya along with Rabbi Steinsaltz’s novel commentary. One does not have to come from the world of Hasidism to study the Tanya. Rabbi Steinsaltz’s clear, readable elucidation makes this dense, concise work accessible to all.