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Jan 21, 2011

how to say "in-laws" in Hebrew...


Tomorrow, Jews around the world will read the Torah portion called יִתְרו (yeet-ROH) - Jethro. 

The highlight of this portion is the Ten Commandments, but there's lots of other action that takes place in this short-but-monumental section of the Torah.

We are introduced to the father-in-law of Moses, יתרו, who proceeds to celebrate with Moses (משֶׁה - moh-SHEH) the miraculous events and salvation following the Exodus from Egypt. After the festivities, יתרו proceeds to instruct משה as to how to lead the People of Israel. משה takes his father-in-law's advice, but soon thereafter sends יתרו happily on his way... far away from the camp.


A live-action shot of משה and יתרו (well, maybe not live-action...)

Perhaps this resonates with some of you.

In any case, the word used in the Torah for father-in-law is חוֹתֵן (khoh-TEN). Most Modern Hebrew speakers, however, are likely to use the term חָם (khahm) to refer to their fathers-in-law.

To say, his father-in-law, you'd use חָמִיו (khah-MEEV), the same way you'd say אָבִיו (ah-VEEV) - his father, which derives from אָב (ahv) - father.

And for mother-in-law? It's חָמוֹת (khah-MOHT). For example, הִיא אוֹכֶלֶת אֵצֶל חֲמוֹתָה (hee oh-KHEH-let EH-tsel khah-moh-TAH) - She is eating at her mother-in-law's place.

שבת שלום וסוף שבוע נעים לכולם - Shabbat Shalom and a good weekend to all!


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