RADISH , a vegetable, the Raphanus raphanistrum; not mentioned in the Bible, despite the fact that it is one of the ancient plants of the Mediterranean region. Herodotus reports that the large sum spent on radishes for the pyramid workers was inscribed on the pyramid of Cheops. In Israel it is found as a weed. In the Mishnah it is called ẓenon and in the Gemara it is called pugla (Akk., puglu). The radish tuber was regarded as a healthy vegetable but its leaves as harmful (Er. 56a). It is a winter plant difficult to grow in Israel in the summer, and it is therefore related of the emperor Antoninus and Judah ha-Nasi that radish was not absent from their tables even in summer (Ber. 57b). From the radish seeds an oil was extracted which the Mishnah (Shab. 2:2) declares invalid as fuel for the Sabbath lamp. In the Tosefta (ibid.) however, a tanna contends against those forbidding its use: "What shall the people of Alexandria do who possess only radish oil?" The radish is very like the rape, called nafos or nafoẓ in the Mishnah. According to the Jerusalem Talmud (Kil. 1:5, 27a) they are regarded as belonging to different species in spite of their similarity.
Loew, Flora, 1 (1926), 511–5; J. Feliks, Kilei Zera'im ve-Harkavah (1967), 76–79. add. bibliography: Feliks, Ha-Tzome'aḥ, 103, 134.
rad·ish / ˈradish/ • n. 1. a pungent-tasting edible root, esp. a variety that is small, spherical, and red. 2. the plant (Raphanus sativus) of the cabbage family that yields this root.