A Sacred Time
Av 5

As every student of Hebrew knows, when we say “alef-bet” we mean the alphabet. Rebbe Nachman explains that when letters run in order this symbolizes Divine kindness; when they run out of order, it signifies judgments. Why, then, does the name of the month with the deepest history of destruction for the Jewish people point toward kindness?

Within what appears to us to be judgments is hidden much kindness.

When I am in pain, I become more receptive to feeling the pain of another. Like every person, I have challenges that only I can overcome. My unique challenges have been, and still are, my most powerful teachers—they’ve made me grow.

The alef-bet of life is that we all go through the fire in some way or another. But we also have a choice: the painful experience is either the means of transformation, or just a vehicle of frustration.
When we face our issues, the rewards can be so rich. We can start fresh, from alef. And then, with bet, we head on to “bereishit”—a new world of beginning. The first word of the Torah means both creation and renewal. This is the alef-bet of my life.

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