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colors in creation & Tanach


Rabbi Ari Shvat

Elul 3, 5782
Are there colors associated with the 6 days of creation?
In general, the Tanach doesn't speak a lot about colors, for we deal more with the internal than with external beauty. Accordingly, there are no names there for most colors, which some appear just regarding the various shades and types of Tzara'at (Vayikra 13), where there are practical ramifications. Even regarding the physical beauty of the Mishkan, as you surely know, there are only several colors mentioned (Shmot 25, 4 et al). In Jeremiah (22, 14) and Megillat Esther (1, 6), the king's palace is described with other colors, just as part of the lavishness which is being expressed there. Colors appear more in rabbinic sources, for it's not that we have any opposition or a negative approach, but ancient cultures didn't deal very much with colors- life was simple and most people had very little clothing and it was relatively unassuming (and the Torah had to be relevant also to the time when it was given 3,300 years ago). In creation, we are told (1, 30) of "green herbs to eat", but there it's really referring to "vegetation". Even the heavens, when created, are not described by their color, for the Torah doesn't detail the obvious. If you are interested in the kabbalistic aspect of colors which surely has ramifications already in creation, see R. Moshe Kordevero, Pardess Rimonim, Sha'ar HaGvanim.
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