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On Nissan we say ברכת האילנות on blossoming fruit trees. The nusach of the bracha is:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱלֹקֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁלֹּא חִסֵּר בָּעוֹלָמוֹ כְּלוּם, וּבָרָא בּוֹ בְּרִיּוֹת טוֹבוֹת וְאִילָנוֹת טוֹבוֹת וְנָאוֹת, (כְּדֵי) לֵהָנוֹת בָּהֶן בְּנֵי אָדָם.

Why are trees referred to in the female form (i.e. "אִילָנוֹת טוֹבוֹת וְנָאוֹת") and not in its normal masculine form?

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  • Why is the Rambam's chapter called מאכלות אסורות? Why next week will some observe תענית בכורות in commemoration of מכת בכורות? That's just the form that's used. Maybe modern Hebrew or Biblical Hebrew, or Rabbinic Hebrew have different tendencies for how to treat that word, but who cares?
    – Double AA
    Apr 13, 2016 at 18:42
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    shoresh.org.il/usersfiles/pps/…
    – Double AA
    Apr 13, 2016 at 18:50
  • Is this just a Hebrew language-oriented question?
    – DanF
    Apr 13, 2016 at 18:56
  • @DoubleAA תענית בכורות and מכת בכורות don't show the word is being treated as feminine -- merely that it has a feminine-like plural ending (which is not that uncommon for masculine nouns). Use of a feminine adjective otoh shows that the noun is being treated as feminine. And that's much more unusual (though, as you say, it happens also in מאכלות אסורות).
    – msh210
    Apr 13, 2016 at 20:19
  • @msh210 So what's happening with אילנות? Is it a masc. noun that's being treated as fem. in this case?
    – DanF
    Apr 14, 2016 at 1:35

1 Answer 1

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I found this on Plantvillage.org

A few tree fruits require individual male and female trees; in other words female trees have only female flowers and bear fruit while male trees only have male flowers that produce pollen.

Based on this, perhaps the Nusach of the Bracha is in the female form as there are some male trees that do not produce fruit on them.

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  • So, אילנות would be a plural of אילנה ?
    – paquda
    Apr 19, 2016 at 16:58
  • @paquda: אילני טובים ונאים is the male form Apr 19, 2016 at 17:36

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