April 17th, 2010

torah

What's black and white and read all over?

I was struck this morning by the fact that there were five explicitly named colors in today's Torah reading -- white, black, yellow, reddish, and greenish. (Yes, we were reading about different kinds of rashes and skin diseases. Per our community's custom, a dermatologist read the portion. But I digress.) Collapse )

Color   tzeva     Total    Tazria-Metzora    Notes
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Blue*   techelet    49        0   Refers to a blue dye. Paired with argaman 15 times.
Purple* argaman     38        0   Refers to a purple dye. Sagol never appears.
White   lavan       29       18   A sizable total, and over half are in Lev. 13-14!
Red     adom        21        6
Black   shachor      6        2
Yellow  tzahov       4        3   The 4th is a verb, "to cause to turn yellow", in Ezra 8
Green   yarok        4        2   3 of the 4, including both Lev., are y'rakrak, "greenish"
Brown   chum         4        0   All four are in Gen 30
Blue    kachol       1        0   A hapax legomenon, in Ezekiel 23,
                                  in an inflected construct form meaning "blue-eyed"
Orange  katom        0        0
Purple  sagol        0        0