Blue in Judaism

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A set of tzitzit with blue tekhelet thread.
A Samaritan Torah scroll wrapped in blue. Some Samaritan kohens dress in blue or green silk.

Blue in Judaism is used to symbolise divinity, because blue is the color of the sky and sea. It can also represent equilibrium, since its hue suggests a shade midway between white and black, day and night.[1]

In the Torah, the Israelites were commanded to make tassels, Tzitzit, on the corners of their garments, and to weave within these tassles a “twisted thread of blue-violet (Tekhelet).”[2] The oral law requires that this blue thread be made from a dye extracted from a sea creature known in Rabbinic literature as the Ḥilazon. Maimonides claimed that this blue was the color of “the clear noonday sky”; Rashi, the color of the evening sky.[3]

According to several Rabbinic sages, blue is the color of God’s Glory.[4] Staring at this color aids in meditation, bringing us a glimpse of the “pavement of sapphire, like the very sky for purity,” which is a likeness of the Throne of God.[5] Many items in the Mishkan, the portable sanctuary in the wilderness, such as the menorah, many of the vessels, and the Ark of the Covenant, were covered with blue-violet cloth when transported from place to place.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mishnah Zeraim 1:2
  2. ^ Numbers 15:38.
  3. ^ Mishneh Torah, Tzitzit 2:1; Commentary on Numbers 15:38.
  4. ^ Numbers Rabbah 14:3; Hullin 89a.
  5. ^ Exodus 24:10; Ezekiel 1:26; Hullin 89a.
  6. ^ Numbers 4:6-12. None of the leading poskim, such as Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky have given their approval to the claims of the Ptil Tekhelet organisation. Many famous Jewish sages such as the Chazon Ish have maintained that the real colour will be rediscovered at certain time in human history. See "The Twelfth Article of Faith" by Maimonides.

Further reading[edit]

  • Zvi Ruder (1999): The National Colors of the People of Israel: Tradition, Religion, Philosophy, and Politics Intertwined ISBN 965-293-059-8

External links[edit]