Chitas learning-Part 3-How, When, and making up missed cycles

Chitas learning-Part 3-How, When, and making up missed cycles

D. How:

Must be learned in any set order?[1] There is no set order of learning Chitas, and one does not be particular to first learn Chumash, and then Tehillim, and then Tanya.

In thought:[2] In the event that one is unable to speak, that he should nevertheless try to learn the daily Chitas in his thoughts.

Understanding what one learns:[3] Although, in general, the rule regarding the oral Torah is that one does not fulfill his obligation of learning it unless he understands its content, regarding the daily recital of Chitas this is not the case, and rather one fulfills the mitzvah even if he does not understand its content, as this daily cycle of learning is something that is relevant to the essence of one’s very life. Thus, just like one fulfills the mitzvah of learning Chumash and saying Tehillim even if he does not understand what he is saying, so too, the same applies with the learning of Tanya. As the Rebbe Rayatz states[4], “The daily learning of Tanya is not about understanding what one is learning but simply learning the words that are written”


E. When:

Every single day on its day:[5] The daily learning of Chitas needs to take place each day on its day, and cannot be studied ahead of time on behalf of many days, and likewise should not be delayed and studied at a later date. Thus, the recital of Shnayim Mikra on Erev Shabbos cannot take the place of the learning of the daily Chumash.[6] Even on Shabbos and Yom Tov, one is to learn the daily Chitas, including Tehillim.

Nighttime- night before versus night after:[7] Regarding the daily learning cycle of Chitas, the night follows the previous day as is the rule by Kodshim, and hence one who learns the cycle at night, is to learn that day’s cycle as opposed to the next day’s cycle. [i.e. on Thursday night, the 25th of Adar one is to study the Chitas of Thursday the 24th of Adar, and not of Friday the 25th of Adar. This refers to Chumash and Tanya, however, Tehillim is not recited at night, until midnight.] Nonetheless, the above is only Bedieved, however initially Chitas is to be learned specifically during daytime and one is not to delay learning it until night, which is a status of Tashlumin and Bedieved which is only to be done in a time of need.[8] If one did not learn it during the day then it can be learned at night up until midnight, and even until daybreak.[9]

When during the day-Tehillim: The generationally accustomed recital of Tehillim prior to Shacharis is a separate matter from the Takana to recite the daily Tehillim of the Chitas cycle, which is a take place after Davening.[10] The recital of the daily Tehillim is to take place immediately after the Shacharis prayer.[11] If one cannot do so then it can be said at anytime, throughout the day until sunset [or nightfall[12]].[13] Nonetheless, even in such a case one should try at the very least to say some of the tehillim immediately after Shacharis, and then finish it throughout the day.[14] If he could not say it until nightfall, then he is to say it after midnight or the next day.[15]

When during the day-Chumash and Tanya:[16] The daily learning of Chumash and Tanya is best to take place in close proximity to the prayer of Shacharis, and in the best scenario should take place immediately afterwards. In the event that one could not do so, then it can be made up throughout the day and even the night after, as already stated that the night goes after the day regarding these matters.[17]

F. Making up if missed:

Although it is possible to make up a missed learning cycle of Chitas, nonetheless, initially one is to learn each cycle on its corresponding day, as making it up another day is a mere Tashlumin and does not fully accomplish that which the daily study can accomplish.[18]

Until when can we make it up? As stated above, the cycle of Chumash and Tanya can be studied throughout the day and even the night after in the event that he didn’t do it that day for whatever reason. Furthermore, if the night already passed, it can be made up throughout the week and the days that follow.[19]

The order of making it up:[20] One is to first make up the learning of the previous day and only then learn that days cycle, in order to learn the material in the proper order.


G. Times of the year:

Shavuos:[21] The holiday of Shavuos is a most auspicious time to resolve to learn the daily Chitas cycle as the three books of study correspond to the three spiritual giants who share relevance to this day. The Torah was handed through Moshe, and hence by studying the daily Chumash one connects with that which he corresponds to. The same applies for King David who wrote the book of Psalms and whose day of passing is commemorated on Shavuos. The same applies for the Baal Shem Tov whose works of Chassidus is relayed in the Tanya, and whose day of passing is commemorated on Shavuos.

Erev Tishe Beav:[22] Initially, one is to complete his studies of Chitas prior to midday. However, if one was unable to do so he may study the regular Chitas studies until sunset.[23]

Tishe Beav:[24] Set lessons of Torah study which have been instituted by Tzaddkim to be learned each day, may be learned after midday, however, not beforehand. Thus, Chitas may be studied after midday by Mincha time. After reciting Ein Kelokeinu before Mincha, one recites the Shiurim of Chitas.[25] [The daily Tehillim is recited, followed by Kaddish Yasom. One does not recite the daily Rambam until Motzei Tisha B’AV.]

During Shiva:[26] One may quietly recite the daily Tehillim after Davening, having the last verse recited aloud by another person. Likewise, one may learn Chumash in private. Tanya may be learned, as is the ruling regarding learning all Chassidus.

Simchas Torah:[27]  On Simchas Torah one is to read the Chumash and Rashi of Vezos Habracha from that days Aliyah until the conclusion of the Parsha.[28] One is likewise to read the Chumash and Rashi of Bireishis, from Rishon until that days Aliyah. Nevertheless, one is not heaven forbid to diminish from the rejoicing of Simchas Torah in order to read the section of Bireishis and one is rather only to do so on his free time when he is in any event not involved in the rejoicing of Simchas Torah. [Thus, one who is unable to complete the learning of Bireishis on Simchas Torah due to the rejoicing is to complete it then next day on Issru Chag.[29]


[1] Igros Kodesh 4:283

[2] Igros Kodesh 6:341

[3] Likkutei Sichos 28:286

[4] Sefer Hasichos 5705 p. 97

[5] Sichos Kodesh 5713 p. 57; Igros Kodesh 13:425; Likkutei Sichos 8:199

[6] Igros Kodesh 13:425

[7] Sichos Kodesh 5713 p. 57; Sichos Kodesh 5715 p. 333; Igros Kodesh 9:244; 13:425; M”B 155:4 that one can make up the missed study session at night; Eiruvin 65

[8] Likkutei Sichos 9:254; Toras Menachem 5749 2:209; Implication of Sichos and letters ibid that only after the fact do we say to do it at night

[9] Toras Menachem 5749 2:209

[10] See Likkutei Sichos 2 p. 569-570; Sichos Kodesh 5713 p. 308

[11] Igros Kodesh 17:146; 10:178; Yechidus, printed in Heichal Menachem 1:218-219

[12] Yechidus, printed in Heichal Menachem 1:218-219

[13] Likkutei Sichos 18 p. 435

[14] Yechidus, printed in Heichal Menachem 1:218-219; Letter of Rebbe from 28th Sivan 5717

[15] See Likkutei Sichos 18 p. 435

[16] Igros Kodesh 17:146

[17] Igros Kodehs ibid and 9:244; Sichos Kodesh 5715 p. 333

[18] Igros Kodesh 13:425

[19] Igros Kodesh 8:197; 9:254

[20] Igros Kodesh 13:331; Letter of Rebbe 3rd Menachem Av 5716

[21] Sefer Hasichos 5751 2 p. 560

[22] Kaf Hachaim 553:18; Hiskashrus 889

[23] The reason: As even on Tisha B’av itself we allow learning one’s set Torah sessions past midday. Hence, certainly on Erev Tisha B’av that learning is merely a custom which some even allow, one may be lenient past midday.

[24] Hayom Yom 9th of Av; Piskeiy Teshuvos 554:4 based on Taz 554:3; Gesher Hachaim 21:5

Other Poskim: Some Poskim rule it is to be completed only the next day. [Shaar HaTziyon 554:11; Mishmeres Shalom 40; Kaf Hachaim 554:19]

[25] Hayom Yom 9th Av; Sefer Haminhagim p. 97 [English]

[26] Response from Rav Groner that so is the Chabad custom; Letter of Rav Gavriel Tzinner to Rebbe, printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:273 and Tzaddik Lamelech 7:234 that the custom is to learn Chitas; See Gesher Hachaim 21:5-3 and Pnei Baruch 16 footnote 21; Nitei Gavriel 106:4 footnote 6

[27] Shaareiy Halacha Uminhag 5:88

Background: In the Moreh Shiur of Chitas it states that the learning of Parshas Bireishis is to begin on Issru Chag. [See Hayom Yom 23rd Tishreiy which only mentions to learn until the end of Vezos Habracha, and Hyaom Yom of the 24th of Tishreiy which mentions toi learn up until that days Aliyah for Bereishis] The Rebbe however instituted for it to be learned on Simchas Torah. The reason for this is because originally people were completely involved in the Simchas Hayom and hence had no time to learn the portion of Bireishis on Simchas Torah itself and consequently it was differed to the next day. However now that people in any event take time off from rejoicing in order to do mundane matters, therefore it is proper to reinstitute the learning to Simchas Torah which is the day Bireishis begins to be read. Nevertheless, one is not Heaven forbid to diminish in rejoicing in order to complete this learning and is rather to do so in his free time that he is not involved in rejoicing. [ibid]

[28] Hayom Yom 23rd Tishreiy;

[29] So is implied from Rebbe ibid

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