It seems that the hebrew words for Teacher and Parent are the same root which means to teach.

I am looking for what the מ (מורה) and (הורה) ה do to the words that help define their roles.

Update: (In response to if the words are truly connected) Rav Hirsch on Harah

I am not an expert on root words. I was shown this from Rav Hirsch which seems to be a source that הורה can also mean to teach.

And one more anecdote: "כל המלמד בן חבירו תורה מעלה עליו הכתוב כאילו ילדו" - I think we can say that this would imply a connection between parenting and teaching as well.

So going with that can anyone help me with what the prefixes might imply?

2 Answers 2


With all due respect to Rav Hirsch, it seems that the words come from different roots.

Teacher comes from י-ר-ה/י in the hiph'il (infinitive לְהוֹרוֹת, meaning to instruct or teach.) Gesenius on ירה writes:

Derived nouns, תורה ,מורה ,יורה

Parent comes from ה-ר-ה/י in the kal (infinitive לַהֲרוֹת, to conceive). See Rashi and ibn Ezra to Bereishis 49:26, and Gesenius on הרה:

The Hebrew interpreters also consider the plural הורים to be as if by zeugma ... to be put for parents.

(Also see Menachem ibn Saruq who groups words such as ולהורות ,הורני ,המורה together with ירה יירה ,ויורו המורים separately from words related to conception.)

  • Interesting. What's your source? Also, what would the mem vs. hey do as a prefix of a word if it was the same root?
    – Gre''i
    May 21, 2020 at 21:55
  • See the sources quoted that link הורה to conception rather than instruction as you assumed.
    – Joel K
    May 22, 2020 at 4:40
  • What would your hypothetical same root be?
    – Joel K
    May 22, 2020 at 4:40
  • Please see my updated question - I think there is room to see these root words as connected.
    – Gre''i
    May 25, 2020 at 8:38
  • Joel K: How about the words הוציא and מוציא?
    – Gre''i
    May 25, 2020 at 9:09

I found this chart which implies:

That a ה would create a noun so perhaps this is conveying that the parent has the real teacher "identity" whereas the מ is an adjective so perhaps more of a supportive role?

Alternatively, it could be that a noun is more general and an adjective is more specific so perhaps a teacher is someone who teaches specific topics but a parent is more of an instructor on everything?

[Please debate/support either of these in the comments]

  • I’m pretty sure that מורה is a noun, not an adjective
    – Joel K
    May 25, 2020 at 10:39

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