What Would You Do If You Weren’t Afraid? | Michal Oshman

Summary of: What Would You Do If You Weren’t Afraid?: Discover a Life Filled with Purpose and Joy Through the Secrets of Jewish Wisdom
By: Michal Oshman


Embark on an enlightening journey through the secrets of Jewish wisdom in Michal Oshman’s ‘What Would You Do If You Weren’t Afraid?’ This powerful book explores the author’s personal experiences with anxiety and depression, and her discovery of the invaluable lessons found in Jewish spirituality, which prove to be instrumental in overcoming her struggles. From understanding your soul’s flame and true purpose to learning the art of self-nullification and the importance of mistakes, readers will uncover transformative concepts that can lead to a life filled with purpose and joy. Delve into the world of Jewish wisdom, where the ancient teachings of the Torah are made accessible, practical, and life-changing.

Overcoming Anxiety with Jewish Wisdom

Michal Oshman shares her journey of overcoming anxiety and depression by finding answers in Jewish wisdom.

Michal Oshman turned to psychotherapy to find relief from her lifelong anxiety and depression but found that most therapists focused solely on her upbringing. However, Oshman knew that her childhood was not the cause of her mental struggles, and she needed to explore other avenues. That’s when she discovered the power of Jewish wisdom.

Despite growing up in a secular Jewish household, Oshman found solace in the ancient teachings of the Torah and Jewish spirituality later in life. Her exploration began when she read Viktor E. Frankl’s book “Man’s Search For Meaning,” where he developed a form of psychotherapy called logotherapy, which focused on finding meaning in life. Oshman felt that she was getting closer to the real answers of her mental struggles through this philosophy.

Further, she found inspiration from Facebook executive Lady Nicola Mendelsohn, who achieved success in both her professional and family life while observing the Jewish day of rest. Finally, Michal found a Jewish professor of psychology who recommended taking a class in spiritual texts, which gave her the tools to move forward.

In summary, Jewish wisdom provided Michal with the necessary tools that traditional psychotherapy failed to deliver, and she discovered the power of finding meaning in her life in overcoming anxiety and depression.

Finding Purpose Through Jewish Wisdom

The Torah teaches that each person has a unique flame within them, but material distractions like money, fame, and ambition can obscure it. Bittul, the practice of self-nullification and focusing on community, can remove barriers and help individuals rediscover their purpose. To start, one must reflect on what gives their life meaning and what unhelpful thoughts or behaviors hold them back.

Learning from Mistakes

In “Gesher Tzar Me’od”, a song that children learn to overcome fear from a young age, the message is that even with a narrow path, moving forward is necessary. The author learned this lesson from her own life of fear and anxiety. She discovered that mistakes and brokenness can lead to growth through reflection and learning, as Facebook encourages by the motto “fail harder.” Accepting mistakes as part of life and an opportunity to develop is a similar concept to the Jewish idea of shvira, where brokenness allows one to mature, gain wisdom, and emerge stronger.

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