3

In an effort to have more kavanah when saying a bracha I began to learn about fruits and vegetables common in my diet. I stumbled across an amazing book called: Banana - The Fate of the Fruit that changed the world by Dan Koeppel. Practically his first order of business - chronologically - is addressing the idea that the banana considered (as he put it 'by biblical scholars') to be the forbidden fruit and not the apple.

His points range from the suggestive genital shape to the nutritional aspects the fruit provides. Considering other aspects of the book, I became open to the idea that - indeed- the banana could arguably be the forbidden fruit.

Are there any commentators that believe the same?

  • 1
    Bananas are not native to the Middle East. They only came much later. See: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banana#Early_cultivation. – mevaqesh Mar 26 '17 at 4:11
  • From what I have seen, the "genital" shape of the banana has been modified by man over the centuries, it's actual shape is not that way. See banana argument for theism.. – Shoel U'Meishiv May 30 '17 at 5:53
  • @ShoelU'Meishiv Never mention that horrible video again. Please. XD – ezra Oct 18 '18 at 16:41
  • nooooooo it has to be haeitz (i mean, right??) – SAH Nov 7 '18 at 5:48
6

Jewish commenters do not believe the banana to be the Forbidden Fruit, yet mention of it is made:

In the Middle Ages, the notion that the Forbidden Fruit is the banana appeared in several places. In 1277 Nathan HaMe’ati translated the Rambam’s medical work Pirkei Moshe (Aphorisms of Moses) from Arabic into Hebrew. In the section detailing the medicinal effects of the banana (20:88), Nathan HaMe’ati calls it the “apple of Eden.” The sixteenth-century Rabbi Menachem de Lonzano, in his Ma’arich, a work explaining foreign words in rabbinic literature, says the banana is a well-known fruit in Syria and Egypt that the Arabs call “the apple of Gan Eden.” Today, some bananas are known by the Latin names Musa paradisiaca (fruit of paradise) and Musa sapientum (fruit of knowledge). Identifying the Tree of Knowledge with the banana appears to be a Christian tradition from at least the twelfth century that enjoyed popularity but was never adopted by rabbinic sources.

(Source: Ari Z. Zivotofsky; linked article in this answer.)

2

Apple is not a Jewish opinion. The Talmud, Sanhedrin 70a--b discusses a few options, including grapes, figs, and wheat. The Tosfos commentary there points out that the description of a tree would imply a perennial, so it's possible that wheat was a perennial back then.

As bananas aren't true perennials and they don't come up in that conversation in the Talmud, I'm not aware of any indication in Jewish sources that they were the forbidden fruit.

  • 2
    Dearth of evidence isn't evidence of dearth. The opinion asked about any commentaries not just the Talmud. – mevaqesh Mar 26 '17 at 10:00
  • 1
    @mevaqesh But I bet you won't find a source that discusses starfruit or passion fruit. I think Shalom's conjecture is okay -- if the common thread between all the possibilities listed in the Talmud is that they are perennial, and bananas aren't, then I think that might be the best information out there. – Shokhet May 30 '17 at 1:35
  • Working backwards we can take the chazzal that tachas hatapuach was an esrog tree and apply that to the opinion that the etz hadaas was an esrog. We can now call the etz hadaas a tapuach. – user6591 May 30 '17 at 17:44
0

No there is no such opinion which specifically sayss a banana was the fruit. There are 6 other possibilities which includes grapes, figs, barley, an esrog, wheat, or unknown.

The unknown position reasoning is the fruit was never revealed so as not to dimish it in the eyes of people. According to this view it is possible that it could be any type of produce or plant, however, this gives us no reason to suspect any one specific fruit such as a banana and isn't proof that it could be either.

  • 1
    Please note: Until the late seventeenth century, the word "Apple" was somewhat synonymous with the word "fruit." Hence, the pine-"apple," a fruit which looks like a pine cone, and the tomato, which was called a "love apple" because it supposedly had aphrodisiac qualities. Other than that, I agree with Laser123, except I would like a source for barley. – R Yisroel Meir Vogel Apr 5 '17 at 0:24
  • 1
    To add: Apple is the result of biblical latin; the word for evil and apple tree are the same: malus – RonP Apr 30 '17 at 6:43
-1

Ultimately, we have no idea what fruit exactly the 'forbidden fruit' was. My personal take (take it as such) is that the so called 'forbidden fruit' is an unkown fruit to mankind, not existent in the physical realm (our world after the expulsion of Gan Eden).

  • I wonder if your take on the forbidden fruit is a legitimate Rabbinic opinion. I've always thought the same about it. That is, if the forbidden fruit is not allegorical. – ezra Oct 18 '18 at 17:08

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .