teach without learning and the best teachers are those who are lifelong students. Also, we can learn a new subject better if we also simultaneously teach someone else what we are learning. Both learning and teaching have always been very important Hebraic concepts and literacy and education are hallmarks of the Jewish people.
When reading the Biblical Hebrew text, you will soon come across a very tall letter, the only one that extends above the line; the letter lamed ( ל ). In order to analyze the significance of lamed in both biblical and post-biblical contexts, we must first understand some important concepts concerning the history of the Hebrew alphabet.
today. [Modern Hebrew letters take their look from the Aramaic alphabet.] The original Hebrew letters, often called paleo-Hebrew, were all pictographs meaning they represented a picture of a concrete object. In order to understand the meaning of pictographs, we will look at the example of the letter lamed (ל) that Dr. Jeff Benner gives in the appendix of his book, “The Ancient Hebrew Language and Alphabet”, (which I highly recommend). The original pictograph for lamed looked like a shepherd’s staff. A shepherd’s staff had a curved end so that the shepherd could use it to capture or direct individual sheep who may be straying, etc. From this you can see how the pictograph of the shepherd’s staff eventually became the letter lamed. The shape of the letter evolved from the shape of a shepherd’s crooked staff, to the shape of the letter lamed. Going back to our root for both teaching and studying, למד, we note that lamed (ל ) is the first letter of the root. As the shepherd used his staff to direct the sheep, so our teachers direct our thinking so that we may learn the subject at hand.
Dr. Howard had a sermon that he often preached from Luke 10 titled, “Sitting at the feet of Jesus”. He taught us that ultimately, Christians are to be like Mary and to be a disciple of Jesus Himself rather than of other believers regardless of how learned they are or what position they hold. We are to learn from Christ’s example, and then we are to teach others through our example and our words. The greatest teacher is the one who teaches us to be a disciple of Jesus Christ and I am so thankful that Dr. Howard did just that. May his memory be a blessing!