Hi, I'm Imu Shalev. I'm the CEO here at Aleph Beta, so, I should know this one right? But it's actually really hard to describe what Aleph Beta is - on the surface, we’re a Torah Media company - we make videos and audios on Biblical Themes - Parsha, Holidays, Prayer and Topics that range from The Meaning of Life to the understanding behind mitzvot. We're really into evidence based presentations of literary analysis of text. And we have these really pretty animated videos that showcase a particular method of interpretation. Hopefully, our videos are spiritually engaging and really, really meaningful as well.
But I think that's really just the surface understanding of what it is that we are. I think, deeper down Aleph Beta is an organization deeply committed to helping people fall in love with Torah. And we really got started based on Rabbi David Fohrman and his almost accidental discovery of a methodology of studying Torah. Rabbi Fohrman is, he would describe himself as a Torah nerd, someone who really is just a careful reader of the text, someone who approaches the text without any preconceived notions, putting aside all the commentaries, or all the things we may have been taught in grade school, and just he approaches the text with childlike wonder, just like reading it for the very first time. And the things you begin to see in Torah text, are truly incredible. Things that we weren't even taught to notice, like, for example, when the Israelites leave Egypt in the story of the splitting of the sea, right, many of us treat that as a nice story. It's really interesting, the cool miracles, that's great.
But what Rabbi Fohrman sort of notices, and what many other sages have noticed before him that sort of like kept on the down low, is just so many language parallels to the story of creation, right? There's all kinds of words that actually harken back to the creation narrative, right? Like in the beginning of creation, there is a wind that is hovering over the deep, and wouldn't you know that wind shows up in the splitting of the sea? You have upper waters and lower waters that are separated in creation? And what does that look like? It's almost the horizontal version of this, right? Water on the right, water on the left, and dry land emerges, just like it does at creation.
And Rabbi Fohrman shows this in parallel after parallel. And what opens up is an entirely new dimension for how to look at Torah, there's this incredible interconnectedness in the various stories of Torah, that kind of just scream out at you, hey, this book is about more than you thought it was.
And we don't stop there, right? We don't just notice cool intertextual parallels. But we ask ourselves, why, like, why are those parallels there? What are the hidden messages and layers of the Torah? And actually, that's my favorite part of what Aleph Beta is. It's not so much the cool methodology, or the textual algebra. But actually a lot of the meaning that emerges when you slow down and ask yourself, just how are these stories relevant to my life? Why are they meaningful to me? Why do I care that the creation narrative shows up at the story of the splitting of the sea? What am I meant to learn from that?
So for me, I feel very lucky because I've been a student of Rabbi Fohrman’s for so many years. And he has shown me in story after story -- the strange struggles between Cain and Abel, between Jacob and Isaac, between Joseph and his brothers, the weird laws of yibum, the binding of Isaac, the laws of the Sabbath, the laws of the Tabernacle, so many strange stories and laws -- how profound meaning and relevance for your everyday life has emerged. It got me so excited, it makes me feel like I want to pledge my life to helping others who venerate the books of Torah, to show them how they can go beyond mere veneration to truly access so much of the meaning and the depth that is sort of hidden in this timeless, important book.
So yes, Aleph Beta is a media company, we create podcasts and videos that explore Torah text. But I think we're on a mission to help people fall in love, to glimpse the beauty and profundity of the Torah. And that's hard to talk about, because even in what I've just said, I haven't demonstrated anything to you. I've merely talked about it. But the truth is, it's so hard to talk about, but it's so easy to grasp what I mean by simply just watching one of our videos. Go watch the video on the splitting of the sea and creation, go watch the video about Abraham's journey and why he was chosen. Go watch the video on the meaning of the laws of the Tabernacle. I guarantee you, they won't just blow you away, but they will change your life; they will mean something to you. That to me is what Aleph Beta is all about.