The first to understand the power of branding was G‑d.

He understood that a brand name captures the essence of who you are, what your customers can expect of you, and what you hope to achieve. With a good brand name, you can, over time, have a deep impact on people’s thinking.

He must change his name, modify his mission statement and broaden his vision

G‑d therefore decides to tweak the name of Abraham, the founder of monotheism (whose name, at that point, was Avram). The change will upgrade the brand and cause the message to catch on, creating a movement that will change the course of history.

So G‑d adds the Hebrew letter hey to the name. The change seems small, but as any good marketing expert will tell you, a small change in a brand often symbolizes a great change in direction.

The verse states:

And your name shall no longer be called Avram, but your name shall be Avraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.

(The Hebrew letter hey stands for the word hamon,” “multitude.”)

Rashi, the primary commentator of the Torah, explains:

The letter resh that was in it [his name] originally, denoted that he was the father only of Aram, which was his native place, whereas now [with the added letter hey, he becomes] the father of the whole world.

With the new and improved name, G‑d tells Abraham that he cannot be satisfied with leading and inspiring only his close circle, that he cannot limit his goal to creating a haven of divine morality; rather, he is charged with being a father to a multitude of nations. He must change his name, modify his mission statement, and dramatically broaden his vision. He must understand that his intended audience is not a few people; his audience is every nation on this earth.

Abraham must teach his children that anybody who wishes to carry the torch, to perpetuate his legacy, will have to follow the message embedded in the letter hey. He or she will have to constantly remember that the goal is to fill all the earth with the knowledge of G‑d.

There is, however, some danger in adopting so broad a goal.

For often, those who try to impact the world, those who have the passion and ambition to make a significant impact on the lives of millions of people, forget about those closest to them. They sometimes overlook the “petty” problem of their five-year-old daughter. They are sometimes too busy to remember the hungry person in their own neighborhood.

G‑d wants to prevent Abraham and his children from making this mistake. So when he adds the letter hey to the name, thus instructing him to direct the message to all of humanity, He is careful to leave the letter resh in place.

As the passage of Rashi continues: “Nevertheless, the resh that was there originally was not moved from its place.”

The marketing experts would certainly protest and argue: “If the resh represents that Abraham was a father only to his native land (resh stands for Aram, where Abraham was born), and the hey represents that he is a father to the entire world (‘multitude of nations’), why can’t we drop the resh? Isn’t Abraham’s native land included in the ‘multitude of nations’?”

Isn’t Abraham’s native land included

Yet the resh must not be moved from its place. In the past, before his mission was expanded to include all the people of the earth, Abraham understood that he must drop everything and risk his life to save his nephew Lot. So, too, after the broadening of his goals, he must still be devoted to those closest to him.

Perhaps that is why the Torah emphasizes that Abraham ultimately does impact all of his family. Even after he is forced, by his wife Sarah and by G‑d, to expel Hagar, he does not forget about her. Eventually he is able to bring her back into his household, remarry her, and bring her back to the belief in one G‑d.

So, yes, carry the torch of Abraham, go out and make a deep impact on the world around you. But never forget about those who need you most.