Blue and White

Question

What is the significance in Judaism of the colors blue and white? Many talit are white with blue stripes. The Israeli flag is white with blue stripes and a star of David. It seems like a common color theme. Is there any significance? Or did it evolve in popular culture over time like red and green for Christmas?

1 year

Answers

  1. The stripes on the tallit remind us of the ‘strand of techelet’ once worn as part of the tzitzit.  Techelet is sky-blue wool. It is dyed with a special dye made from the blood of a fish/snail called the chilazon. The Torah says that if we wear a four-cornered garment, we should put strings on the corners, and one of these strings should be a ‘strand of techelet.’ Over the centuries, the exact identity of the chilazon became forgotten. Hence, the ‘strand of techelet’ became a mitzva we are unable to fulfill (according to most authorities).
    The idea behind tzitzit is that they serve as a reminder. Like royal subjects who wear special insignia to symbolize their loyalty to the king, we wear tzitzit to remind us of our duty to Hashem and His commandments. The beautiful blue reminds us of the sky, which in turn inspires us to ponder God’s Greatness. Now that we no longer have techelet, we have the stripe on the tallit to remind us of the techelet.
    Some people used to have a blue stripe. I don’t know why ours is black.

    Interestingly enough, I once heard from a Rabbi in Jerusalem that the reason that the Israeli flag is blue and white is because the blue represents the Techailet. Techilet was one of the symbols of monarchy in Biblical Israel, the white symbolizes the purity of the concept of a Jewish State.

     

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team