As we approach Thanksgiving, when families are gathered along with close friends and guests, when the spirit of this special holiday is filling us with relaxation and with sentiments of joy and love we’ll introduce in this coming month words and phrases that concur with these fine sentiments of kindness, joy and love as we received requests to introduce such words for some time.
Today we’ll learn the word mother and how to introduce our own mother to others.
The word mother is ‘em’. We find this word very early in the Bible:
‘And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living’.
The word ‘em’ mother appears 22 times in the Bible. 22 is also the number of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet (called ‘alefbet’ in Hebrew, after its first two letters: Alef and Bet). The vowels in Hebrew are called ‘ee•mot ha•kri•ah’, which are either the ‘Mothers of Reading’ or ‘Matrices of Reading’. If you come to think about it, ‘matrix’ (the singular form of matrices) is a derivative from the Latin ‘māter’ (‘mother’).
You may have heard the word ‘ee•ma’, for mother. It is the modern way to say mother. You won’t find it in the Bible at all, though this is what every child call his/her mother. The word ‘em’ is only used for literary or poetic purposes.
To say ‘my mother’, we may use today both the Biblical and the modern possession forms. Surprisingly, the word ‘of’, ‘shel’ in Hebrew, does not exist in the Bible. Likewise, all the common English possession words such as: my, your, yours, his, our, etc. do not exist in Biblical Hebrew (except for ‘my’ which appears only twice in the Bible, once in the first chapter of Song of Songs and once in its last).
So how would one say ‘my mother’?
In modern Hebrew only: ‘ee•ma she•li’. You may also say ee•mi in modern Hebrew.
In Biblical and modern Hebrew: ‘ee•mi’. Notice that you don’t need two words to say it.
The ‘mi’ here sounds like ‘mee’. This ‘ee’ sound ending indicates first person singular possession. In other words, this is the suffix for all singular nouns that are mine. This ‘ee’ (or ‘i’) at the end of any singular noun (as a suffix) translates as ‘my’. Therefore, mother ‘em’ with the suffix ‘ee’ or ‘i’ becomes ‘ee•mi’, my mother.
‘Na le•ha•kir’ literally means ‘please meet’, and after saying this you pause, present your mother before the people who are present, and then say: ‘ee•mi’, ‘my mother’.