Modern Hebrew is rich with many expressions referring to trees. As the following chart shows, many of these are rooted in our Biblical heritage.

Hebrew expression

Literal translation


Modern usage

Etz ha-daat

Tree of knowledge

Genesis 2:9

Source of wisdom and knowledge

Etz ha-hayyim

Tree of life

Genesis 3:22

The Torah

Etz hadar

Beautiful tree

Leviticus 23:40

Citrus tree


Dry tree

Ezekiel 17:24; Isaiah 56:3

Infertile person

Etz ya’ar

Forest tree

Ezekiel 15:2

Non-fruit bearing tree

Etz ma’achal

Food tree

Deut. 20:20

Fruit-bearing tree

Etz tirosh

Wine tree Nehemiah 10:38

Grape vine

Etz avot

Thick tree

Leviticus 23:40


Bul etz

Tree stump

Isaiah 44:19

Dense person who has trouble understanding

Daber el ha-etzim

Talk to the trees

I Kings 5:13

Speaking to someone who isn’t listening

Al ha-etzim v’al ha-avenim

About the trees and the rocks

Talmud - Yevamot 60:b

Talking about anything and everything

Meirov etzim lo yeira’e va-ya’ar.

The forest cannot be seen because there are so many trees.

Too much attention to detail makes it difficult to understand the overall situation

Hatapuachlo aino nofel rahok m’ha-etz

The apple does not fall far from the tree.

Tobias 3:4 (Apocrypha)

The children are similar to their parents.

TREES Table of Contents




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