Have you ever felt unsettled? Just a general sentiment of disconnection? What causes it, and what can be done about it?

Last Monday we celebrated Simchat Torah - and what a beautiful celebration it was! Simchat Torah is the holiday at the conclusion of the annual cycle of the 53 Torah portions. This Shabbat we restarted that cycle with the Torah portion of Bereshit, Genesis. Genesis speaks about creation - how God created our universe and planet, from the sun to the stars to the sea.

What was there before creation? The Torah doesn't tell us much, but it gives us a clue. "There was chaos" says the first Torah portion (the words for chaos that the Torah uses here, 'Tohu vaVohu', made it to the Webster dictionary as 'Tohubohu', meaning chaos).

What comes to mind when you think of chaos? Probably many things all happening at the same time, without any order, or the proper means to deal with it all. Perhaps like one of those days when the kids refuse to go to sleep, you miss the train, your cell phone breaks, or when you find out that your Charles Schwab account sank by twenty percent.

Interestingly enough, the word chaos actually comes from the Greek word "khaos", which means void. A void is the very opposite of many things happening at the same time! It is created when nothing is happening at all. Quiet. Empty. Dull.

You see, chaos is not a state of affairs - it's a state of mind. And what is that state of mind? A void.

When our minds and hearts are void of purpose and direction, everything in life becomes unconnected and indiscriminate, and it feels like utter chaos. Life is always filled with many things all happening at once, and if we don't have a clear vision that unites it all, it is overwhelming.

What causes that unsettled feeling we spoke of earlier? The lack of meaning and purpose to tie it all together. That voidness causes an emptiness, and chaos, that needs to be filled.

When we are focused, and filled with meaning and direction, everything falls into place like a perfect puzzle.

And just what is that focus?

Well, let's go back to Genesis, and look for some clues. After all, it is there that the story of creation, and all the chaotic events that emerged from it, is recorded. How does Genesis start? "In the beginning, God created heaven and earth".

With those few words the Torahs gives us the antidote to chaos, or voidness. Instead of looking at the world as a random hodgepodge of arbitrary occurrences, look at the world as a carefully crafted creation by God.

Wake up in the morning, look at the sun shining, and say "Modeh Ani Lefanecha", thank you God for returning my soul to me and giving me another day. Come home from work, look at your spouse, children, home, or yourself, and thank God for giving you those priceless gifts. Think about how to maximize what you have, how to use it best and most of all, how to appreciate it.

No one is moved by a painting that is one solid color. Beauty and accomplishment come when many different entities work together harmoniously to produce something greater than their individual selves.

If we could transform our lives from hundreds of separate tracks to one single, meaningful theme, under whose umbrella all else functions, life would take on a whole new sense of purpose, happiness and tranquility.

Rabbi Avrohom