About a week ago we began a series of 12 expressions and idioms that is bound to enrich your Hebrew vocabulary, both in physical and spiritual aspects, all involving a common noun that most of us use daily without giving it too much thought. This noun is p’ri: fruit.
Today’s word, ‘p’ri ha•dar,’ is the general Hebrew name for ‘citrus.’ It includes the entire citrus family: Citrus medica, orange, grapefruit, lemon, pomelo, key lime and more. The first fruit on this list, Citrus medica (citron), is called in Hebrew ‘etrog,’ and it has major importance in Jewish tradition; it is one of the four species used during Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles* (see below). In fact, the etrog is one of 5 original species of natural citrus, alongside pomelo, Key lime, mandarin and the Citrus halimii that was discovered in 1973. All other kinds of citrus were developed by either natural or artificial hybridization of different species. Our common lemon is not a natural citrus. It is an artificial hybridization of etrog and Key lime.
*Pri hadar is mentioned in the Bible in reference to the holiday, Sukkot:
“And you shall take on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days”
The English translation here to ‘p’ri etz (tree) hadar,’ as it is written in Hebrew, is ‘goodly trees’ or ‘goodly fruit.’ Why goodly? Because the word ‘hadar’ means ‘glory.’ This is, as far as we understand, the source of the name p’ri ha•dar (citrus) in Hebrew: Fruit of Glory. If you look closely at the Feast of Tabernacles as described above, you see that the particular kind of citrus (the etrog), along with the other three species, was and still is used to glorify God during this glorious feast.