APPLE


APPLE
APPLE (Heb. תַּפּוּחַ), mentioned several times in the Bible. In the Song of Songs it is described as a shady tree bearing sweet fruit (2:3). The odor of the beloved is reminiscent of the delicate aroma of the apple (7:9). It was an important product of Palestinian agriculture, and is mentioned as one of the victims of the locust plague described in Joel (1:12). The shapeliness of the golden apple served as a model for artistic ornamentation (Prov. 25:11). The custom of sending apples to the sick is mentioned in rabbinic literature (Tosef., BM 7:4; TJ, Shev. 8:4, 38a). Several localities in Israel bore the name "Tappu'aḥ," giving evidence, incidentally, of its widespread growth and popularity. The tappu'aḥ of the Bible has been variously identified as peach, citron, and even mandrake. Yet it undoubtedly refers to the apple – Pirus malus (sylvestris). This is confirmed by the references to its characteristics in rabbinic literature, for instance, the season of its ripening, the trees on which grafting would be permitted, the preparation of applesauce and apple cider, etc. (see Tosef., Kil. 1:3; TJ, Ma'as. 1:4, 49a; TJ, Ter. 10:2, 47a; Tosef., Ber. 4:2). In Arabic the apple is called tufaḥ. In ancient times the aromatic strains apparently were most widely cultivated, and the odor evoked high praise. The verse "the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the Lord hath blessed" (Gen. 27:27) was interpreted as referring to the smell of an apple orchard (Ta'an. 29b). In art and in later literature the tree of knowledge in Genesis 1 was identified with the apple tree, and the Targum of the Song of Songs renders tappu'aḥ as "the aromatic apples of the Garden of Eden." In the Kabbalah, "the orchard of holy apples" signifies the most sublime holiness. In recent times the apple was not cultivated extensively by the Arabs in Palestine. From the middle of the 20th century, however, apples of various strains were grown in many areas of Israel, and are even an export crop. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Loew, Flora, 3 (1931), 212 ff.; J. Feliks, Olam ha-Ẓome'aḥ ha-Mikra'i (1968), 60–63. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: Feliks, Ha-Ẓome'aḥ, 172. (Jehuda Feliks)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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