Should the Macintosh have been named the Olive?

Apple is known for promoting creativity and a “think different” approach to life. But behind the backdrop of Apple’s 1984 Superbowl commercial announcing the birth of the Macintosh, was a birthday of another sort.

According to Kabbalah, the Hebrew month of Shevat corresponds to the sense of tasting or eating. This served as the basis for our article Tu B’Shevat: Celebrating The Annual “Start-Up Nation Day of the Year where we explained that the best day to taste new fruits (products) for the first time, is the 15th of Shevat, the annual New Year of Trees.

But not mentioned in that article, is that according to Kabbalah, each month of the year also corresponds to one of the tribes of Israel. For the month of Shevat, the tribe is Asher.

From Asher Comes Delicacies

The name “Asher” (אַשֵׁר) means “pleasure” and “happiness.” Our father Jacob blessed his son Asher: “From Asher comes delicious [lit. fat] bread, and he shall provide the delicacies of the king” (Genesis 49:20). From this it is evident that Asher represents the sense of taste and eating.

The special tree which Asher personifies is the olive tree, which gives the goodly oil with which Asher’s portion in the land of Israel was blessed. Of the seven species of the land of Israel, the olive is the sixth, which, in Kabbalah, corresponds to the sefirah of foundation, and to the tzadik who is described in the Torah as, “tzadik[righteous person], foundation of the world” (Proverbs 10:25). Olive oil represents the potent seed of the tzadikto bear and sustain blessed generations of Jewish souls.

Tasting Potential

The end result of our Tu B’Shevat article was that a tzadik is the person who most actualizes their creative potential.

This explains the recent surge of headlines announcing 30 years since the Macintosh was first introduced. While Apple today is most known for their mobile devices, the widespread attraction to the particular date of January 24th 1984, over other notable dates in Apple’s history, serves as a signal for us to look more closely at the date itself.

Indeed, Asher, the person who both represents the sense of eating and tasting–the tzadik principle for the month of Shevat–was born on the 20th of Shevat. Which in 1984, corresponded to the day hours of January 24th!

But while the apple Macintosh name was chosen as a likely reference to tasting from the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge (even though according to Jewish tradition it was likely not an apple), given the above, it seems that a better name for this computer would have been the Olive.

With material from Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh’s

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About the Author
Yonatan Gordon is a student of Harav Yitzchak Ginsburgh, and co-founder of
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