Learning the weekly Torah Or and Likkutei Torah

This article is an excerpt from the above Sefer

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Learning the weekly Torah Or and Likkutei Torah:

The Oral Torah of Chassidus:[1] Tanya is considered as the written Torah of Chassidus, while the Sefarim of Torah Or and Likkutei Torah are considered to be the Oral Torah of Chassidus. While Tanya lays the groundwork for the path towards one becoming a true servant of Hashem, it is the Mamarim in Torah Or and Likkutei Torah that expand the discussion on these topics, just like the Oral Torah expands the laws that are found in the Written Torah.   

Learning it in its entirety:[2] On various occasions[3], the Rebbe directed the Chassidim to learn all the Mamarim of Torah Or and Likkutei Torah each week, in a way that the entire two volumes are completed by the week of Shabbos Bereishis. This weekly learning is referred to as the Chassidishe Parsha.[4] At first, the Rebbe exempted the study of the Mamarim on Shir Hashirim[5], but in later years the Rebbe requested that this section should be completed each year as well.[6] The Rebbe in one of his last talks in 5752[7] instructed the Chassidim in general, and Shluchim in particular, to study the entire Torah Or and Likkutei Torah from beginning to end as part of the efforts to draw down the unity of G-d and the Jewish people which will occur in the times of the redemption. The Rebbe stated that just as one learns the entire Rambam being that it includes the entire revealed Torah, so too one is to learn the entire Torah Or and Likkutei Torah [being that it includes the entire Torah of Chassidus].[8] As a result of this call, many Chassidim the world over religiously took upon themselves the weekly study of Torah Or/Likkutei Torah.[9] The Rebbe himself would learn Torah Or and Likkutei Torah on a weekly basis, usually after the Friday night meal.[10]

Beli Neder: As by all times that one takes upon himself a new Shiur or learning schedule, one is to explicitly state that it is “Beli Neder.”[11] Thus, prior to resolving to have a set Seder to learn Torah or-Likkutei Torah, one should explicitly say [i.e. verbalize[12]] that he is doing so Beli Neder.[13]

Relearning it again after its conclusion:[14] The Rebbe instructed that when one completes the learning of the entire Torah Or-Likkutei Torah one time, he is to begin learning it again, this time in an even higher level. [From previous talks, it is understood that it is to be learned annually, in its entirety, in line with the weekly Parsha.[15] Thus, initially it is to be learned in its entirety each year corresponding to the weekly Parsha, and if one is unable to do so, then at the very least he should learn it in its entirety however long it takes, and restart learning it again after he finishes.]

Learning with one’s children:[16] The custom of some Chassidim is to study the weekly Chassidishe Parsha from Torah Or-Likkutei Torah together with their children, of bar mitzvah age, and even less than bar mitzvah. At the very least, it is to be learned on a superficial level. 

Not to have it compromise on other learning sessions:[17] This new learning session is meant to come in addition to regular studies that one has already undertaken and not be learned instead of them.

The quality of its study and what to do if short on time: If one is time constricted, the Mamarim do not have to be learned in such great depth [Iyun], and it suffices to review them in a quick and light fashion [Girsa].[18] One can even simply read Likkutei Torah, even if he does not understand the full meaning of the words.[19] Nonetheless, one is to learn at least some section of the weekly portion properly, most preferably the first chapter.[20]

What to do if one cannot keep up with finishing it each week: Ideally, what is to finish the entire Torah Or Likkutei Torah of that Parsha by each corresponding week, and not delay it for another time.[21] Nonetheless, in the event that one is unable to keep up with finishing the weekly Torah Or-Likkutei Torah that corresponds to that weeks Parsha, then he should simply start from the beginning and study according to his pace [even though it will not be corresponding to the weekly Parsha] so he can finish it one time.[22]

Learning Likkutei Torah versus Likkutei Sichos-what had precedence? The Rebbe stated in a public talk on Simchas Torah in the year 1971 that he was going to stop publishing Likkutei Sichos for that year and one of the reasons is because he saw that the Chasidim were studying it instead of studying the works of Torah Or and Likkutei Torah, and that the intent of the Likkutei Sichos was to be in addition to the regular studies of Torah Or and Likkutei Torah and not instead of them. Accordingly, the Rebbe is encouraging the Hasidim to make the weekly study of the Chassidishe Parsha from Torah Or and Likkutei Torah of more importance than the study of Likkutei Sichos, and it should be secondary regarding the weekly learning for the Parsha. In the Rebbes words from that talk of: “I already discussed before that in the past the custom was that on Shabbos, they would learn Torah Or/Likkutei Torah, or other discourses relevant to that week’s portion. However, from the time that the Likkutei Sichos have been printed it has become the main subject of learning of the week as being that he is a Shpitz Chabad he claims that since it was printed that week this is a sign that this is the main subject of learning of the week and he thinks throughout the entire week that since he needs to learn the Likkutei Sichos therefore he is now exempt from learning Torah Or/Likkutei Torah… Therefore, since we are now beginning a new year from now on everyone should learn the discourses in Torah Or/Likkutei Torah and the other discourses that begin with verses of the weekly portion, and they should learn it in depth.”

Segula for Parnasa:[23] In the merit of learning the entire Torah Or and Likkutei Torah weekly, one receives the promise that his physical needs will be sweet and given at a good time. Mainly, it will bring blessing to one’s material abundance that it be used for healthy and happy purposes. Learning the weekly Torah Or/Likkutei Torah creates a vessel for the abundance of Parnasa, assists one to learn Torah without any stress or worry, and broadens one’s mind with understanding.

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[1] See Toras Menachem Vol. 29 pp. 149-150; Sefer Hasichos 5751 p. 117; However, see Sichos Kodesh [unedited] 5752 Vol. 1 p. 324 where the Rebbe refers to it as the Torah Shebichsav of Chassidus [omitted from the edited Sicha in Sefer Hasichos 5752 Chayeh Sarah]

[2] Toras Menachem 5715 Vol. 13 Parshas Vayeishev p. 175 and Vol. 14 p. 238; Toras Menachem 5725 vol. 42 p. 307; Sefer Hasichos 5749 Vol. 1 p. 41; Sefer Hasichos 5752 Parshas Chayeh Sarah p. 113; Sichos Kodesh [unedited] 5752 Vol. 1 p. 324; Hiskashrus 275

[3] See all sources in previous footnote; The first directive in this matter was given on Shabbos Mevarchim Teves in the year 1955. Ten years later, in 1965, the Rebbe came out once again with the same directives, although in a much more aggressive manner, mentioning it consistently throughout the talks of that year. In 1991 by the Sicha of Parshas Chayeh Sarah, by the Kinus Hashluchim, the Rebbe instructed the Chassidim to make a resolution to learn the entire Sefer Torah Or and Likkutei Torah, all their portions until the end.    

[4] Sefer Hasichos 5749 Vol. 1 p. 41

[5] Toras Menachem 1955 Parshas Vayeishev p. 175

[6] Toras Menachem 1965 vol. 42 p. 105 and Sefer Hasichos 5752 Chayeh Sarah p. 113

[7] Sefer Hasichos 5752 Chayeh Sarah p. 66

[8] Sichos Kodesh [unedited] 5752 Vol. 1 p. 324

[9] See for example Igros Kodesh 10:301; 11:122

[10] Hiskashrus ibid

[11] Michaber Y.D. 213:2; 203:4; M”B 238:5

[12] See Michaber Y.D. 203:4 and 214:1 “Say Beli Neder”; Shach 203:4 “Say explicitly without a Neder”; Perisha 203:10 “Say explicitly Belo Neder”; However, see Aruch Hashulchan Y.D. 214:3 who writes, based on many proofs, that thinking it alone suffices; See Nidrei Yaakov 12 footnote 6; Kol Nidrei p. 715 footnote 16 in name of Rav Elyashiv that thinking Beli Neder suffices; See wording in Admur 239:13 and 568:17;

[13] Toras Menachem 1955 Parshas Vayeishev p. 175; Igros Kodesh 11:122

[14] Sichos Kodesh [unedited] 5752 Vol. 1 p. 324

[15] Toras Menachem 1965 vol. 42 p. 105

[16] Sefer Hasichos 5749 Vol. 1 p. 41 footnote 29

[17] Igros Kodesh 10:301

[18] Igros Kodesh 10:301; See Hiskashrus ibid

[19] Hiskashrus ibid, based on Yechidus of Rebbe

[20] ibid

[21] See Toras Menachem 5725 vol. 42 pp. 307; Toras Menachem 5715 Vol. 13 Parshas Vayeishev p. 175

[22] Igros Kodesh Vol. 12 letter 4,232

[23] Toras Menachem 1955, Vayeishev 5

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