ללמוד - Lilmod

Root Metaphor

מלמד בקר Melamed/Malmadh – cattle prod

Illustrative Example of Root Metaphor


The Hebrew word for learn is Lilmod ללמוד. Learning and Teaching have the same root in Hebrew which is etymologically related to Lamed מלמד Lamed/Lāmádh (which means the rod of the teacher) originates from the root word melamed/malmadh מלמד בקר – which means cattle prod or “ox goad”. The term Talmud normally refers to the central text of Judaism and shares the same root word. Talmud can be translated with “that which is learned.”

Common phrases

Common phrases about learning
  • תלמיד חכם Talmid (learner) haham (smart,wise)

Someone who has learned from wise – a well-learned religious person

  • לא הבישן למד Lo habaishan lamed (no shy learn)

The shy one shall not learn – if you don’t ask question you do not learn

  • למד לקח Lamad lekah

Learned a lesson

  • מכל מלמדי השכלתי Mikol melamday hiskalty

You can learn from anyone, I became wiser by all the people who taught me and even more by the people I taught

  • למד בדרך הקשה Lamad Badereh hakasha

Learned the hard way

Common phrases about teaching  
  • מורה טוב מורה לחייםMore tov more lahaiim

 a good teacher - a teacher for life

  •  דרכיך יהוה, הודיעני; ארחותיך למדני darkeiha jehovah hodieni; orhoteiha lamdeni

Psalm 25:4. Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths.

  • אשכילך ואורך—בדרך זו תלך Askileha veoreha – bederech zo teleh;

Psalm 32:8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;

  • חנוך לנער על פי דרכו – גם כי יזקין, לא-יסור ממנה hanoch lanaar al pi  darko – gam ki yazkin lo-yasur mimena

Proverbs 22:6  Train up a child by his way ; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

  • בדרך חכמה הריתיך; הדרכתיך במעגלי -ישר Bedereh hohma horitiha; hidrahtiha bemaagaley yosher

Proverbs 4:11 I instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along the right circles (straight paths).

Common phrases about knowledge
  • מה שאת עוד לא יודעת אני כבר הספקתי לשכוח

The things you do not know yet, I have already forgotten

  • ידע זה כוח

knowledge is power

  • אין לדעת

you never know

  • יודעי ח"ן

holders of secret wisdom


תלמוד - Talmud which shares the root of Lamed (learning) is a Jewish bible of written and oral heritage. In the תלמוד Talmud, Moses passed on much more than just the 10 commandments to the elders and has been passed on orally for generations. This knowledge has been negotiated and changed over the years. The תלמוד Talmud is presented with the original text and is surrounded by three other texts of the elders. While people study these debates, they accept the interpretations of the other elders do to their reverence of the wise elders. Lamed ל is also a Hebrew character that resembles a shepherd’s staff. The current trend in Israel is to speak about this kind of learning where people sit together and offer different interpretations – ie. Knowledge is an ever-evolving negotiation of meaning. Note, the teacher is responsible for learning.

Implicit Spatial Associations

A spatial implication could come from the similar root- melamed מלמד בקר  – cattle prod. This implies a giving of direction. This giving directions is not gentle like a shepherd, but suggests violence.      

Please cite this article as:
Francis, K., & Davis, B., Telem, L. & Rothschuh, S. (2021). "Lilmod" (Hebrew). In Metaphors of Learning in Different Languages. https://doi.org/10.11575/8B7N-V637 . https://learningmetaphors.com

⇦ Back to Map
⇦ Back to List