The Brilliant Ten-Year-Old Who Inspired Us All

For those of you who don’t know Rabbi Fohrman personally, allow me to  paint you a picture….

Rabbi Fohrman is never more excited than when he feels he truly made an impact in someone’s life. He could see that thousands of people watched his Parsha video, and he’ll be happy, of course, but those are just numbers. When an actual person gets matched with one of those numbers, when he can tangibly recognize the human factor, that is what truly gets him going.


On May 15th we received a letter in the mail. It simply said as follows:

“Dear Rabbi Fohrman,

Thank you for your input into my ten year old daughter’s life!

Shalom, John Williams”


With it, he had attached his daughter’s incredibly elaborate chiasm (a literary technique that Rabbi Forhman is particularly fond of using in his teachings) with her note: “I was reading my Scriptures one morning and I found this chiasm.” Discovering chiastic structure in the Bible is an impressive feat for a learner of any age, but for a ten-year-old? He was blown away.


The chiasm [see image below] focuses on Genesis 27, the story of Rebecca and Jacob tricking Isaac for Esau’s blessing. Rabbi Fohrman had never noticed it before and quickly went to the text to see for himself. He was awestruck, inspired, and so deeply impressed to find that the chiasm was completely accurate.


Immediately afterwards, Rabbi Fohrman flew out of his office, noticeably very excited, and told us to quickly gather round. He went on to show us the letter and the color-coded chiasm, and started talking about producing a video based on Ms. Williams’s findings. (Unfortunately Ms. Williams did not sign her first name!)


I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how uplifting this was for all of us at Aleph Beta.


Everyone at Aleph Beta is passionate about conveying Torah in an honest way; and in our dream of dreams, we hope Aleph Beta learners will receive the tools they need from us to interpret and analyze a text for themselves.


But we, like everyone else, can get a little burnt out. We fall prey to the distractions- the minutiae of our day-to-day routines- that we lose sight of this glorious goal.


But then you uplift us. It’s people like you and Ms. Williams who remind us of why we do what we do, and give us the encouragement we need to keep going.


We’re all in it together, and we truly couldn’t do it without you.



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P.S. The Williams family has given us permission to share their letter with you, so without further ado….

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