Toras Chaim (Chabad)

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Toras Chaim
Toras Chaim 2014-07-12 16-30.jpg
Toras Chaim, 1826 edition, Kapust
AuthorRabbi Dovber Schneuri, the second Chabad Rebbe
  • Kapust, 1826 (first edition) [1]
  • Warsaw, 1866 [2]
  • Kehot Publication Society, Shanghai, 1946
  • Kehot Publication Society, Brooklyn, NY, 1975, 1993, 2004
Pages1,812 (current hardcover edition)
ISBN 0-8266-5588-2

Toras Chaim (Hebrew: תורת חיים) is a two-volume work of Hasidic discourses on the books of Genesis and Exodus by the second Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi Dovber Schneuri. [1] [3] The work is arranged in a similar fashion as Likutei Torah/Torah Or , a fundamental work on Chabad philosophy authored by Rabbi Dovber's father, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the founder of the Chabad movement. Both works are arranged according to the weekly Torah portion.

Book of Genesis The first book of the Christian, and Hebrew Bibles

The Book of Genesis is the first book of the Hebrew Bible and the Old Testament. It is divisible into two parts, the Primeval history and the Ancestral history. The primeval history sets out the author's concepts of the nature of the deity and of humankind's relationship with its maker: God creates a world which is good and fit for mankind, but when man corrupts it with sin God decides to destroy his creation, saving only the righteous Noah to reestablish the relationship between man and God. The Ancestral History tells of the prehistory of Israel, God's chosen people. At God's command Noah's descendant Abraham journeys from his home into the God-given land of Canaan, where he dwells as a sojourner, as does his son Isaac and his grandson Jacob. Jacob's name is changed to Israel, and through the agency of his son Joseph, the children of Israel descend into Egypt, 70 people in all with their households, and God promises them a future of greatness. Genesis ends with Israel in Egypt, ready for the coming of Moses and the Exodus. The narrative is punctuated by a series of covenants with God, successively narrowing in scope from all mankind to a special relationship with one people alone.

Book of Exodus second book of the Bible

The Book of Exodus or Exodus is the second book of the Torah and the Hebrew Bible immediately following Genesis.

Chabad Chasidic movement Chabad-Lubavitch

Chabad, also known as Lubavitch, Habad and Chabad-Lubavitch, is an Orthodox Jewish, Hasidic movement. Chabad is one of the world's well-known Hasidic movements, particularly for its outreach activities. It is one of the largest Hasidic groups and Jewish religious organizations in the world.


The treatises in Toras Chaim are noted for their length and complexity, as well as their elucidation of concepts discussed in Likutei Torah/Torah Or. [4]



Elucidation of Tanya and Torah Or

The seventh Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, recommended the study of Torah Or and Toras Chaim after one completed the study of Tanya , the central text of Chabad philosophy. Rabbi Schneerson explained that Torah Or expanded on the ideas in Tanya, however, through studying Toras Chaim these concepts would be fully elucidated. [4]

Menachem Mendel Schneerson Seventh Chabad Rebbe

Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson (April 18, 1902 OS – June 12, 1994 / AM 11 Nissan 5662 – 3 Tammuz 5754, Hebrew: מנחם מענדל שניאורסאהן‎, known to many as the Lubavitcher Rebbe or simply as the Rebbe, was a Russian Empire–born American Orthodox Jewish rabbi, and the last rebbe of the Lubavitcher Hasidic dynasty. He is considered one of the most influential Jewish leaders of the 20th century.

Tanya Main work of the Chabad philosophy

The Tanya is an early work of Hasidic philosophy, by Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the founder of Chabad Hasidism, first published in 1797. Its formal title is Likkutei Amarim, but is more commonly known by its opening word, Tanya, which means "it was taught in a beraita". It is composed of five sections that define Hasidic mystical psychology and theology as a handbook for daily spiritual life in Jewish observance.

Published editions

Toras Chaim was published slowly over the course of many years. The various editions slowly expanded the multi-volume work until it had included Hasidic treatises covering the first two books of the Bible, Genesis and Exodus.


The first printing of Toras Chaim occurred during Rabbi Dovber's lifetime; it was printed in Kapust, 1826. [1] The Kapust edition contained Hasidic treatises covering just the first half of the book of Genesis. [7]

Kopys urban-type settlement in Belarus

Kopys is a town in the Orsha Raion, Vitebsk Region, Belarus. First references are dated by 1059.


1866, Warsaw edition Torath2.jpg
1866, Warsaw edition

The next edition of Toras Chaim was published in Warsaw, in 1866. The edition was published by Rafael Mordechai Schneerson, the great-nephew of Rabbi Dovber Schneuri, together with Schneur Schneerson, a grandson of Rabbi Dovber. This edition included treatises covering the second half of the book of Genesis. [7]

Warsaw City metropolis in Masovia, Poland

Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. The metropolis stands on the Vistula River in east-central Poland and its population is officially estimated at 1.765 million residents within a greater metropolitan area of 3.1 million residents, which makes Warsaw the 8th most-populous capital city in the European Union. The city limits cover 516.9 square kilometres (199.6 sq mi), while the metropolitan area covers 6,100.43 square kilometres (2,355.39 sq mi). Warsaw is an alpha global city, a major international tourist destination, and a significant cultural, political and economic hub. Its historical Old Town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


In 1946, the Chabad yeshiva in Shanghai and the central Chabad publishing house, Kehot Publication Society, republished the Warsaw edition of Toras Chaim. Additionally, a series of unpublished Hasidic treatises by Rabbi Dovber covering the book of Exodus were included in a separate second volume. The edition was published. The second volume was never typeset. Instead, those treatises remained a photocopy of the original handwritten transcripts. [7] [8]


The central Chabad publishing house in Brooklyn, Kehot Publication Society, republished Toras Chaim in 1974, [9] 1993 [8] and 2004. The 2004 edition is a 1,812 page, three-volume set; the Exodus treatises have been typeset and all treatises include extensive footnotes and annotations. [10]

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  1. 1 2 3 The Mittler Rebbe. Accessed April 5, 2014.
  2. Miller, Chaim. Maimonides: 13 Principles. Kol Menachem Press. Accessed April 5, 2014.
  3. Kabbala and Chassidism. Accessed April 4, 2014.
  4. 1 2 Schneerson, Menachem Mendel. Igros Kodesh Vol. 19. Kehot Publication Society. Brooklyn: New York. p. 55.
  5. Schneerson, Menachem Mendel. Lechaim Dodi: 5714. Accessed July 9, 2014.
  6. Schneuri, Dovber. "V'Eleh Toldos." Chapt. 12. Toras Chaim, Vol. 1. Kehot Publication Society. Brooklyn: New York. (1975).
  7. 1 2 3 Schneerson, Rafael Mordechai. "The Publication of Toras Chaim of the Mitteler Rebbe." Oholei Shem 4:7. Machon Oholei Shem - Lubavitch. Kfar Chabad: Israel. (1992): pp. 73-74.
  8. 1 2 "Editor's preface." Toras Chaim. Kehot Publication Society. 1993.
  9. Catalog of Copyright Entries. Third Series: 1975: January-June. Library of Congress. Copyright Office. 1976.
  10. Kehot Book Page. Kehot Publication Society. Accessed April 7, 2014.