(From the pealim.com website)

The word להורות comes from ירה and gives הורה (past tense, 3rd person, masculine singular; "he/it taught", or as a imperative 2nd person, masculine, singular: "[to a man] teach!"), which reminded me of the word הורה as in parents, educators (parenting), but this comes from the root הרה.

Rabbi Hirsch on Bereishit 26:5 teches that the word תורתי does not come from the root ירה , like הוליך from הלך , but from הרה: to receive a seed within oneself, in the Hifil הורה: to plant a seed in someone else, hence to implant the seeds of truth and goodness, of spirituality and morality in others; 'to teach'. So that תורתי are the teachings which G-d has revealed to us of truth and goodness which we are to accept in our minds and feelings, to beget in us knowledge of truth and the decision to goodness.

Is there a connection (common denominator) between ירה and הרה ?

  • 2
    You don’t want to combine this into your earlier question that also asks about the root ירה? Why not ask one question that addresses all three related roots?
    – DonielF
    Commented Oct 20, 2017 at 17:30
  • 2
    In neither question, by the way, have you supported your assertion that להורות comes from ירה.
    – DonielF
    Commented Oct 20, 2017 at 17:30
  • @DonielF i thought of it first, because I also wanted to know if the words Torah, Moreh en Horeh are often taught to be all from connected roots or share a common root. But to answer your question, I thought that the question would become to large, and I don't think there is a connection between הרה and ירא (is there?).
    – Levi
    Commented Oct 20, 2017 at 20:43
  • @DonielF pealim.com/dict/853-lehorot states that it's a hifil from the root ירה, so I assumed it was.
    – Levi
    Commented Oct 20, 2017 at 20:44
  • That seems to be such an important part of the question that it should be edited in.
    – DonielF
    Commented Oct 20, 2017 at 20:48

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 הרה 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 last of the above cited entries:

[gradational variants]: הרר isolate; הרה implant; ירה cast

As explained on page 295:

[A gradational variant] involves five special consonants: י, ו, א, נ, and ה. These consonants play a special role with respect to roots whose third consonant is identical with the second. [...] Each of the word families created by the above formula is inter-related [sic]. Their respective meanings show degrees of intensity or similar activity in other spheres.

Thus, the basic root, הרר, means to isolate, while הרה and ירה are ways of doing so, by implanting it somewhere or casting it away.

  • F you showed that 'teaching' comes from the root הרה, is this the same root used for Torah, Moreh (teacher) and Horeh (parent)?
    – Levi
    Commented Nov 6, 2017 at 15:59
  • Yes. תורה and מורה and להורות are all forms of the word “teach,” definition 2. הורה is definition 3.
    – DonielF
    Commented Nov 6, 2017 at 16:02

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