The Torah we use most weeks at our Shul is a nice one. (Yes, I know they're all good, and all authentic hand-written Torah scrolls have equivalent holiness and contain the same message, but I was referring to aesthetics). High-quality parchment; comfortable size for lifting, and generously endowed with silver accessories, it is an unusually handsome specimen of a Sofer's (scribe) talent.

More accurately, Soferim, plural. It is clearly the result of a collaborative effort between two separate practitioners of the trade. Just as everyone's handwriting is distinctive, so too every sofer fashions the holy letters of his craft in an individual style. Exactly half way through the scroll, from one column to the next, the lettering abruptly switches. This style change can be quite disconcerting and I well remember the shocked reaction of a guest called up for the section in question: "Whoa, change of font!"

Every Torah ever written has a change of font in this week's Parsha. The letter Alef, of the verse "And G‑d called to Moses" is tiny. Far smaller than a regulation size Alef, it excites comment and query from the audience every year.

The traditional Chasidic explanation for the change is that it is written thus to give an indication of Moses' unparalleled humility. Though he alone among men had communicated directly with G‑d, despite the fact that he was the leader who'd defeated the Egyptians and freed the Jews, and even after he merited to transcribe the Torah which bears his name, he nonetheless remained the most humble man ever to exist on this earth (Numbers 12:3) and the verse is deliberately downplaying, as it were, G‑d's summonsing of him.

Interestingly, the small Alef of our Parsha is counterpointed by another font change elsewhere in the Bible. The name 'Adam', the first man and the personal handiwork of G‑d, is written once with an oversize Alef, to denote his grandeur and, by extension, the greatness of all humans—the ultimate purpose of creation,

To exist is to have a purpose. G‑d created no thing without reason. If birth is G‑d's way of informing you that "you matter," then one needs to constantly bear in mind one's responsibilities, live up to the large Alef.

Recognition of one's worth, however, should never lead to hubris and conceit. Moses, the most accomplished person ever to live was also the most humble. His small Alef was his awareness that his talent and ability were gifts from G‑d. His natural endowments had allowed him to soar but, he constantly asked of himself, "have I truly utilized my full capabilities?"

This dual perspective of the dueling Alefs — an uplifting recognition of one's achievements tempered by the deflating sense of challenge — invokes a humility and drive to accomplish in religion and life, and thus justify one's very existence.