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THE COLOR OF TORAH

By: Rabbi Yosef P. Glassman



Why did the unseen Infinite give this color illusion to our wavy micro-projection that we call physicality? What does the color green represent according to the Zohar?

“…colors are metaphors for the continuous actions, stemming from higher roots.”  –The Ramak, Pardes Rimonim

Physics tells us that our perception of color is not the true color of the object; rather, what we see is the color that the object actually rejects. In other words, look at a yellow flower on the Shabbat table for example. Its essence is not truly yellow; rather, the natural dyes in the petals utterly reject yellow, and those rejected yellow light waves enter our eyes. In addition, our imperfect eyes filter that rejected color, flip the image, convert it into panoply of neurotransmitters, and reconstruct itas an electrochemical likeness on the back of the brain. To be sure, science posits that this yellow is merely a projected awareness, not a true reality. Add to that perception the fact that the green stems and leaves are essentially composed of colorlesselectrons, zooming in waves around protons and neutrons so quickly that the flower can be picked up and held, not because there is a true solidity to them.

Indeed, in between these colorless micro-wave/particles called electrons, which flash in and out ofa professed existence, there is simply an excess of space – 99.9 percent of open-spaced nothingness. When we understand that the scientific reality of holding this Shabbat flower is only a colorless electromagnetic projection beaming in and out of color perception, the spiritual world starts to stand on more solid ground.

It shouldn’t surprise most Jews that the Torah predated and predicted scientific realities by thousands of years. This holds true from the calculations of the number of stars in the galaxy to the exact time of the orbit of the moon, down to our tenuous colorful physical reality.

Ain Od Milvado – there is nothing other than Him.Most of the wavelengths that Hashem made in the physical world are truly imperceptible to the human eye, which can only grasp waves from 400 to 700 nanometers (red to violet), a mere small gift of a micro-projection of the cosmos. The color picture that you just texted to your friend has just disintegrated into unseen waves in space, where it bounces off a satellite and has landed in Jerusalem, unscrambled, just as you sent it. Our current physical reality is not much different of a color projection.

Not surprisingly, science has started to catch up to Torah of late, which acknowledges that color is a mere projection,that is then filtered through our eyes and brain as a mere perception. The true source of all of projection and perception, however, emanates from the highest point of light – Hashem, who is the colorless source of electrons.

So, why did the unseen Infinite give this color illusion to our wavy micro-projection that we call physicality? No human truly knows, but there are clues in the Torah to find how colors play an important role in projecting the power of the Infinite into the world, particularly healingpower.

In Parashat Beresheet(1:30) it is clear that the “yerek esev” (green herb) is the mainstay of food for every beast, bird, and earth creature that has “breath of life.” Green is the color of life-sustaining action. All fruits are green to start, and only later develop into their panoply of individual rainbow colors, note our Kabbalists. One need not be a scientist to know that many herbs and most fruits considerably extend our time on this planet when we consume them.

The color green, according to the Zohar, represents the aspect of Hashem’s binah, or deep original understanding. The Ramak expounds on this idea in his chapter entitled, “The Gate of Shades [of Color],” where green represents Hashem’s Divine understanding – literally encircling the world. Green represents this enveloping, life-giving force that is injected into all trees, grass, leaves, fruits, and herbs. Thus, green, in Torah, is the primary color of healing. Visually meditating on the color green causes this healing quality to enter one’s body. In fact, green is the easiest color on the eye. Yet the green light stems from white light, as white includes all colors.

In Torah, the multicolored white light represents the kindness (hesed) of the King of all kings, as it contains and is the emanating point of all colors. Yet, Hashem, the Source, has no particular color. For the world to physically function, non-color is projected into the world, vis-à-vis white light (hesed), which later splits into its functional, yet colorful, domains, in which the world can exist. The colors, however, do not hold power themselves, rather they represent the different forces of the Infinite (sefirot) and the ways He directs the earthly electromagnetic projection that we call reality.

As we try to daily approach the smoky, flowering, green mountain of Har Sinai, may we all find complete healing in this limited world, and carry the multicolored flag of Benyamin back to fly at the rebuilt Beit Hamikdash, speedily in our days.