I was looking up the word להורות on the pealim.com website, from the root ירה. And it gave all kinds of conjugations. But it also gave some related words one of those was: הוראה. Both seem to have to do with 'instruction', but one comes fom the root ירא while the other comes from the root ירה. I also noticed that some translators and root dictionaries refer to these two roots with regard to 2 Divrei Hayamim 26:15, Mishlei 11:25 and 2 Samuel 11:24 (וירו) [וירוא], but this time the root ירא seems to be some Aramaic-style-by-form of the verb ירה.

1.Are these roots indeed connected in some way? 2.Is it possible that both root words although different in meaning, apply to these verses?

  • Why isn’t הוראה a form of the word ירה?
    – DonielF
    Oct 20, 2017 at 17:19
  • I think the real shoresh is ירה. However, I have to check if the word also means "to shoot" or "to direct" as in the concept "to shoot an arrow". It may be from the same shoresh, but, I'm uncertain.
    – DanF
    Oct 20, 2017 at 17:19
  • @DanF יורה ומלקוש - you’re absolutely correct that the word means to shoot, as with an arrow.
    – DonielF
    Oct 20, 2017 at 17:20
  • @DonielF Thanks. That makes for a bit more complex, but interesting research for me to see what the relationship of these two meanings are. I speculate that the better meaning is "to direct" rather than "to shoot". Teaching is a way of directing ones thoughts, actions and behavior.
    – DanF
    Oct 20, 2017 at 17:24
  • Give me until Sunday night when I will have access to my R’ Hirsch dictionary, and then I’ll be in a better position to answer this question. :)
    – DonielF
    Oct 20, 2017 at 17:27

1 Answer 1


According to the Etymological Dictionary of Biblical Hebrew, page 110. All brackets containing words are my expansion of their abbreviations; brackets containing ellipsis are skipping the examples provided, as they are irrelevant to the question. Italics are from the quote itself.

ירא: fear; call to constant attention

[explanation/commentary]: 1: fearing; being anxious of enemies [...] 2: being awesome [...] 3: being aware of a presence [...] 4: directing [...]

And further down on the page:

ירה: cast; shoot

[explanation/commentary]: 1: casting towards a particular place [...] 2: shooting at a target [...] 3: overthrowing by proxy [...] 4: early pelting rain [...]

So according to R’ Hirsch, teaching is not from either of these roots. It’s actually from the root הרה, page 61. (Boldface is mine.)

הרה: implant and absorb seed

[explanation/commentary]: 1: conceiving; becoming pregnant [...] 2: teaching; implanting seeds of knowledge ([Exodus] 4:12 והוריתי אשר תדבר also [Genesis] 26:5, [Exodus] 26:36, [Psalms] 9:21) 3: parent [...] 4: source of instruction ([Genesis] 22:2 אל ארץ המוריה)

Thus, הוראה and להורות, according to R’ Hirsch are, in fact, not from ירה or ירא at all.

However, that wasn’t the question. The question was if ירה and ירא are connected, and the answer is yes. R’ Hirsch is big on this sort of thing, and the dictionary provides a list of related roots. From the first of the above cited entries:

[cognate meaning]: limit activity [...] ירה cast

As explained on pages 293-294, words that share letters from similar parts of the mouth are related, where the letters toward the left are more “intense” than the ones on the right:

Gutturals: ע -ה -א -ח Palatals: ג -י -כ -ק Dentals: ד -ת -ט -ל -נ Labials: ו -ב -פ -מ Sibilants: ר -ז -שׂ/ס -שׁ -צ

So while both ירה and ירא describe limiting activity (fear, casting away), ירה limits it less so than ירא. In order, the full group is ירה, then גרע, then כרע, then קרע, then ירח, then ירא, and finally, the most limiting, גרה.

  • DonielF: based on this question and the other one I posted (judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/86399/…) I would like to check something with you. Is it correct that based on Hirsch his commentary the roots ירה and ירא are connected, but also ירה with הרה and thus with the possibility that any of these roots form word like Torah, Moreh and Horeh there possibly etymological connected as well? Because I find so many people trying to argue which root their from and why there connected or not.
    – Levi
    Oct 24, 2017 at 18:41
  • The way the dictionary puts it, ירה is connected to each ירא and הרה, but ירא and הרה are not connected. Words meaning “teach,” as all of the ones you listed in both of your questions, are from הרה and only הרה.
    – DonielF
    Oct 24, 2017 at 18:56

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