Today we introduce ‘ta•pu•ach’, apple − the most romantic fruit in the Bible (if we don’t take into account the ancient biblical herb named du•da•im, the ‘love plant’ (Genesis 30:14–16 and Song of Solomon 7:13). We’ll also introduce a quick Hebrew session on subjects and adjectives.
The ta•pu•ach, apple, is also called in Hebrew ‘ta•pu•ach etz’ (a tree apple). ‘Tapuach’ is an apple, and ‘etz’ is a ‘tree.’ You can learn from this that in Hebrew, subject nouns come first and then the adjectives. Simply put, Hebrew uses a logical method, wherein the subject is said first and described second. Adjectives describe subjects. The English sentence structure is illogical because the description comes first before stating the subject that will be described. This creates an extra burden on our short-term memory. Take this adjective-rich example: “The surprising, challenging, intriguing, but very promising, yet quite uncertain and scary… (up to this point you still have no clue what is it all about and have to keep all these adjectives ‘unprocessed’ in your brain’s ‘RAM’) …space travel.” Only now you finally know what all these adjectives describe! Obviously, not every English sentence has so many adjectives, but even two or three in each sentence end up causing an accumulatively greater brain burden at the end of each day than the burden created for Hebrew speakers. This brain processing burden is called ‘cognitive noise.’ Now, that you understand why an apple is called ‘ta•pu•ach etz’ (a ‘tree apple,’ an apple that grows on trees), we have a quick test for you: how would you say in Hebrew ‘apple tree’?
If you’ve determined that the ‘tree’ is the subject in this case and the ‘apple’ only describes the tree (tells us what kind of tree this is) you’ll say: ‘etz ta•pu•ach,’ and you’ll be right!
The ta•pu•ach, known in its botanical name as Malus domestica, was considered to be Garden of Eden’s ‘Forbidden Fruit’ in early Christian and Jewish traditions. It has been used in sacramental rituals by the Greek, Romans, Jews (eaten on Rosh Hashana with honey), and Christians (on Halloween). We’ll end with the biblical romantic verse:
“Like the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among young men. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste”