Today we introduce the most prominent yield of Israeli orchards and what used to be No. 1 on the list of Israel’s agricultural products: ‘ta•puz,’ orange.
The ta•puz, orange (Citrus sinensis, in its scientific name), is not mentioned in the Bible. It was brought to Israel only during the Middle Ages. Most scientists believe that the ta•puz is a hybrid between pomelo and mandarin.
In the US, it is cultivated mostly in Florida, California and Arizona. It was brought to America by Christopher Columbus in 1492, only 300 years after it was first brought to Europe (Italy) in the 11th century.
The biblical connection to the non-biblical fruit
The origin of the English-named orange is from the Spanish “Naranja.” The Hebrew name “ta•puz” is new and was coined by the linguist Itzhak Avineri around 1930 under biblical inspiration, but also as an abbreviation of two words: ta•pu•ach (apple), and za•hav (gold). As it looks, it depicts the two really well: a golden apple. The biblical origin is compelling as well:
“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver”
Obviously, this verse is not referring to oranges as fruit, but to ornamental decoration. However, this biblical ornament inspired the actual given name of the orange, ta•pu•ach za•hav, or in its abbreviated name, tapuz.