We begin today a series of 12 expressions and idioms that is bound to enrich your Hebrew vocabulary both in the 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.”
There is little doubt, if any, that many languages have adopted this word from Hebrew. Let’s start with the English word ‘fruit’. You may remember that Hebrew has one letter for both F and P. It is the letter ‘pay,’ or as some pronounce it, ‘peh.’ If you look at p’•ri and ‘fruit,’ you see at once that the three Hebrew consonants P(F), R, and I are evident in the English word. In French it sounds like ‘fri;’ in Italian it is ‘frutta;’ in Spanish and Português, ‘Fruto;’ in German ‘Frucht;’ and so on.
The meaning and the use of this word is quite similar in all languages: fruit, p’ri, is the general name for anything growing or grown and used for human food or animal feed. It is the part of the plant containing the seed or seeds, and is growing up to be ripe and edible. It is also used as a metaphor that describes result or product (mostly positive) of effort, action and so on. Biblical Hebrew has added an array of many more defined uses to this metaphor that influenced the literature, philosophy and culture of many nations by adopting the biblical literal narrative to their lingual treasure. We’ll explore the most important uses over the next 12 days.