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One of the ingredients in the Ketores is Cypress Wine - יין קפריסין. Although the Gemara (Kerisus 6a) notes that pungency is the reason for using the wine, why does the Almighty specifically want this ingredient to come from outside Israel? (He could have made this product grow in Israel instead)

  • It's not necessarily a mistranslation as DoubleAA has it below, but note that Aruch Hashalem suggests, as one possibility, that קפריסין may be Kypros, near Jericho, which Herod built and named after his mother. – Meir Jul 24 '20 at 21:10
  • @Meir it could maybe be some town near Jericho but it's definitely a mistake to think it is the modern island of Cyprus – Double AA Jul 24 '20 at 21:14
  • @DoubleAA, you still haven't explained (here or in your answer) why it can't be. There were Jews living in Cyprus, after all. (And all the more so, to say that it can mean only "capers" flies in the face of the Rashi that NJM quoted in the comments below.) – Meir Jul 26 '20 at 13:56
  • @Meir this isn't about what it can only mean. It's about what it did mean. Google can already prove to you the word can mean Cypress – Double AA Jul 26 '20 at 15:34
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That's a mistranslation. קפריסין are capers. See Berkahot 36a. They would soak capers in the wine to give it flavor (or something like that; I don't have a recipe for you).

  • Fascinating, thank you! Artscroll seems to translate this as "wine of Cyprus". Rashi seems to brings both opinions, capers vs. Cyprus on that Gemara Kerisus (6a) - יין קפריסין - שבא ממקום ששמו קפרס. ע"א בגליון יין קפריסין שעושין מקפרא של אילן הוא ששמו קפרס כגון הצלף והקפרס מ"ר – NJM Jul 24 '20 at 20:07
  • Which makes more sense: they used a popular wine variant from local ingredients or they used an obscure wine with no discernable advantage from a place that's almost never spoken of and was far away? – Double AA Jul 24 '20 at 20:11
  • Absolutely hear you (And I appreciate the laugh) and it's noteworthy Rashi in Avoda Zara 38b says הקפריסין - שומר לפרי הן ממין צלף ודרך לאכלן חיין this term refers to the caper. Still, Rashi brings both understandings here in the context of "caper wine" (and Artscroll has a team of talmidei chachamim who chose to translate one way over another) – NJM Jul 24 '20 at 20:20
  • Na, most of artscroll's editorial decisions are which 19th or 20tg century text to stylistically update. They rarely would reappraise a translation of a specific word. I wouldn't think of it as a complete series of conscious decisions by a panel of informed experts. – Double AA Jul 24 '20 at 23:38
  • Truth is the vast majority of American orthodox Jews grew up with artscroll and probably never gave "Cypress" a second guess, and the same is probably true of whatever preceded it, so we can't blame them for not getting it right. Especially because most Americans don't even know what a caper is. – Double AA Jul 24 '20 at 23:49

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