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In Judaism, we have a tradition that the letter Alef, whose numerical value is 1, represents the Oneness of G-d (which all existence is united with, subsumed in, and composed of). The greatest implication of GOLAH (Heb. EXILE) is the obscurity of G-d (a Higher power, or however you call It) in our reality, individually and globally. However, when you ‘insert’ an Alef, or the recognition of G-d’s Oneness, into Golah, you achieve the essence of Geulah (Heb. for Redemption), which is when G-d is apparent in every aspect of existence.
Based on this formula, and 3 related interpretations of Alef as taught by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, I made a “3 Step Plan” to deal with anxiety when I experience it. However, by following steps 1-3, I believe you can translate the principles into your own life-situations where you feel they apply. I have set forth disclaimers below.
1.) “Alufo shel Olam.” First, I firmly accept G-d as the “Master of the universe,” even when and where He’s concealed, such as in adversity I face.
I choose this as my foundation on which to build.
2.) “V’a’aleph’cha Chochma – I shall teach you wisdom.” The lessons learned from G-d’s Torah help me process difficulties through a higher perspective.
In this week’s Torah portion, Bereishis, we learn how G-d preceded all existence, created it from nothingness, and therefore He must constantly renew it to maintain its existence. On a spiritual plane, anxiety stems from fragmentation, misperceiving my reality as separate from G-d; thus I fear the unknown and fret about what tomorrow will bring. In truth, G-d’s constant renewal ensures this world is specially designed, under control, and that someone lovingly provides for all my needs, indeed my very life this moment. I am secure, embraced by the Infinite. All is well, and unfolds according to His plan.
3.) Peleh (the expanded spelling of “Alef,” reversed), as in “Arenu Nifla’os – I will show him wonders.” Through my challenges, G-d grants me new discoveries – new strengths, insights, tools.
My anxiety is my initial, dark, inner state of Golah. My first step towards liberation is choosing to acknowledge a Higher power actively involved in my life. Next, I contemplate a message from Torah, the constant Creator’s guidebook to life, one that addresses my particular situation. Now, I gain a new mindset, clarity and resolve to live my life to the fullest, with the confidence that G-d equips me with all the resources He knows are needed to fulfill my unique purpose at any age or stage. My fears restrain me no more. I am alive. I see Him in my life. This is Geulah. I am free.
Growth Tool: How do I practically ground all this? Periodically through my day, whenever I partake of something that merits the blessing of “Shehakol”, I utilize the moment to pause, breathe deeply, and mentally review the above thoughts. (Verbalization is significant.) A more concise form is intrinsic to the blessing itself, which affirms “through Whose [G-d’s] word everything [constantly] comes into being.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְ‑יָ אֱ‑לֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם שֶׁהַכֹּל נִהְיָה בִּדְבָרוֹ
WHILE I HOPE THE FOLLOWING IS SELF-UNDERSTOOD BY READERS, I WILL SAY IT ANYWAY:
ANXIETY (AS SO MANY CONDITIONS) MAY VARY BY INDIVIDUAL. FAITH OR RELIGION IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL INTERVENTION WHERE REQUIRED, THOUGH THEY MAY GREATLY ENHANCE ONE ANOTHER. PLEASE REACH OUT TO SOMEONE YOU TRUST FOR HELP; IT DEMONSTRATES STRENGTH, AND YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
ALSO, THIS ARTICLE INCLUDES MY SUBJECTIVE EXPERIENCES AND SOME FREE TRANSLATION. I AM FULLY RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ERRORS IN THE CONTENT, OR DEVIANCE FROM THE ORIGINAL SOURCE’S INTENT.
More information for the explorers at heart:
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