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Alternative Spellings

lechatchillah, lechatchilah, lekhatkhile, l'chatchila, l'chatchilah


  • "to begin with; altogether" (Weiser, Frumspeak)
  • "done in the best possible way; optimally" (Weiser, Frumspeak)
  • "occurring at the beginning; at first; initially" (Weiser, Frumspeak)

Example Sentences

  • "Lechatchila you should try to learn far from the door, so you don't get distracted by people coming in and out." (Weiser)

Languages of Origin

Textual Hebrew, Aramaic


לכתחילה "at first"

Who Uses This

Orthodox: Jews who identify as Orthodox and observe halacha (Jewish law)


Frumspeak: The First Dictionary of Yeshivish, by Chaim Weiser (Northvale, 1995).
Dictionary of Jewish Usage: A Guide to the Use of Jewish Terms, by Sol Steinmetz (Lanham, MD, 2005).


Usually contrasted with "bedieved," to describe an action that should only be undertaken as a last result, or ex post facto. Steinmetz's "Dictionary of Jewish Usage" mistakenly has the definition for "bedieved" repeated under both "bedieved" and "lechatchilah."

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