Excerpted from a speech delivered at the Rhetoric Society of Europe Conference, University of East Anglia, Norwich, England, July 5, 2017
I was watching a series of videos called Torah in Ten
And the rabbi asked: Why did Abram, get an "H"?
You’ll remember in Genesis. Abraham was the patriarch who became the founder of many nations.
And at an important point, God changes his name from Abram to Abraham.
Abram gains an "H."
The rabbi interpreted it like this.
Abram means "exalted father or exalted wisdom."
Abram was given a mission to spread the ideas of monotheism.
But the message as "exalted wisdom" wasn’t enough.
He had to take the knowledge to the masses.
Communication is what makes that possible.
Communication is represented by the letter "hay" in Hebrew.
The letter "H" for us.
In Hebrew it’s the widest, highest, fattest letter.
It’s the full size of the font.
H symbolises the fleshing out, the expounding, the clarifying, the detailing, the explaining and the spreading of an idea.
With his "H," God gave Abraham the gift of communication.
The rabbi turns this insight into a lesson for our own lives.
You might have some fascinating ideas.
But there is always the challenge of passing that wisdom on.
And the rabbi reckons—if you retain lofty wisdom to yourself when you have the power to communicate it, you commit a sin.