Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Dazzling Blue: Color Symbolism, Kabbalistic Myth, and the Evil Eye in Judaism

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Numen

The color blue is thought to protect against the evil eye in Mediterranean cultures. This article unfolds the yet-unstudied role played by kabbalistic theology, symbolism, and myth in the construction of the color blue as a protective color for Jews. It traces particularly the development of a medieval kabbalistic myth of a dazzling blue garment of the feminine aspect of the godhead, protecting her from contact with evil forces. The article shows how this myth became the foundation for various practices against the evil eye among Jews in the modern period and contextualizes this myth within theories about the evil eye.

Affiliations: 1: The Open University of Israel, Department of History, Philosophy, and Judaic Studies 1 University Road, p. o. Box 808, Raanana 4353701Israel


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

1. Abrams Daniel The Book Bahir: An Edition Based on the Earliest Manuscripts 1994 Los Angeles Cherub Press
2. Abrams Daniel"“The Virgin Mary as the Moon that Lacks the Sun: A Zoharic Polemics Against the Veneration of Mary”" Kabbalah 2010Vol 21 7 56
3. Alfia Itzhak Siaḥ itzḥak 1923 Jerusalem Zuckerman
4. Alfia Itzhak Ahavat hashem 1943 Jerusalem
5. Avitzur Shmuel"“Tsefat merkaz le-taʻasiat arigei tsemer ba-me’a ha-tet-vav” [Safed — Center of the Manufacture of Woven Woolens in the Fifteenth Century]" Sefunot: meḥkarim u-mekorot le-toldot kehilot israel ba-mizraḥ [Sefunot: Studies and Sources on the History of the Jewish Communities in the East] 1962Vol 6 41 69
6. Sefer beur ‘eser sefirot 1997 Jerusalem Makhon Pitḥei Megadim Azriel of Gerona
7. Bloom Jonathan M., Blair Sheila S. And Diverse Are Their Hues: Color in Islamic Art and Culture 2011 New Haven Yale University Press
8. Cohen-Alloro Dorit Sod ha-malbush u-mar’eh ha-mal’akh be-sefer ha-zohar [The Secret of the Garment (and the Appearance of the Angel) in the Zohar] 1987 Jerusalem The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
9. Cohen-Alloro Dorit"“Ha-magia ve-ha-kishuf be-sefer ha-zohar” [Magic and Sorcery in the Zohar]" 1989 Jerusalem The Hebrew University of Jerusalem Ph.D. dissertation
10. Cordovero Moses Pardes Rimonim [Orchard of Pomegranates] 1591 Krakow
11. Cordovero Moses Sefer ha-zohar . . . im peirush or yakar me-ha-gaon . . . rabbi Moshe Cordovero [The Zohar . . . with Or Yakar Commentary by . . . Moshe Cordovero] 1962–1995 Jerusalem Ahuzat Israel 20 vols.
12. Dalman Gustaf Arbeit und Sitte in Palästina, Band V: Webstoff, Spinnen, Weben, Kleidung 1937 Gütersloh C. Bertelsmann
13. Dayan Abraham ben Isaiah Holekh tamim u-fo’el tsedek 1850 Livorno
14. Dundes Alan Dundes Alan"“Wet and Dry, The Evil Eye: An Essay in Indo-European and Semitic Worldview”" The Evil Eye: A Casebook 1981 New York Garland 257 312
15. Fallon Breann"“A(blue)nt: Beyond the Symbology of the Colour Blue”" Literature and Aesthetics 2014Vol 24 2 21 38
16. Farber-Ginat Asi"“Tefisat ha-merkavah be-torat ha-sod ba-me’a ha-yud-gimmel: ‘sod ha-egoz’ ve-toldotav” [The Concept of the Merkabah in Thirteenth-Century Jewish Esotericism — “Sod Ha-Egoz” and Its Development]" 1986 Jerusalem The Hebrew University of Jerusalem Ph.D. dissertation
17. Garb Jonathan Hofaʻotav shel ha-koaḥ ba-mistika ha-yehudit: mi-sifrut ḥazal ʻad kabbalat tsefat [Manifestations of Power in Jewish Mysticism: From Rabbinic Literature to Safedian Kabbalah] 2005 Jerusalem Magnes Press
18. Gikatilla Joseph Weinstein Avi Gates of Light 1994 San Francisco HarperCollins
19. Goitein S. D. A Mediterranean Society: The Jewish Communities of the Arab World as Portrayed in the Documents of the Cairo Geniza 1983Vol Vol. IV Berkeley University of California Press
20. Green Arthur"“Shekhinah, the Virgin Mary, and the Song of Songs: Reflections on a Kabbalistic Symbol in Its Historical Context”" Association for Jewish Studies Review 2002Vol 26 1 1 52
21. Greenfield Amy Butler A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire 2005 New York HarperCollins
22. Hacohen Yehuda Ashmoret ha-boker 1852 Jerusalem
23. Haim Yosef Shut rav pe’alim 1901Vol Vol. 2 Jerusalem Frumkin Press
24. Haim Yosef Ben yehoyada 1902Vol Vol. 4 Jerusalem Frumkin Press
25. Hallamish Moshe Ha-kabbalah ba-tefila ba-halakha u-va-minhag [Kabbalah in Liturgy, Halakhah, and Customs] 2000 Ramat-Gan Bar-Ilan University Press
26. Hardie Margaret M. Dundes Alan"“The Evil Eye in Some Greek Villages of the Upper Haliakmon Valley in West Macedonia”" The Evil Eye: A Casebook 1981 New York Garland 107 123
27. Harfouche Jamal Karam Dundes Alan"“The Evil Eye and Infant Health in Lebanon”" The Evil Eye: A Casebook 1981 New York Garland 86 106
28. Herzog Isaac Spanier Ehud The Royal Purple and the Biblical Blue: Argaman and Tekhelet: The Study of Chief Rabbi Dr. Isaac Herzog on the Dye Industries in Ancient Israel and Recent Scientific Contributions 1987 Jerusalem Keter Publishing House
29. Idel Moshe Blumenthal David R."“Kabbalistic Prayer and Colors”" Approaches to Judaism in Medieval Times 1988aVol vol. 3 Atlanta Scholars Press 17 27
30. Idel Moshe Kabbalah: New Perspectives 1988b New Haven Yale University Press
31. Idel Moshe Neusner Jacob, Frerichs Ernest S., McCracken Flesher Paul Virgil"“Jewish Magic from the Renaissance Period to Early Hasidism”" Religion, Science, and Magic: In Concert and In Conflict 1989 New York Oxford University Press 82 117
32. Idel Moshe Idel Moshe, Dimant Devorah, Rosenberg Shalom"“Kawanah ve-tsevaʿim: Teshuvah kabbalist nishkaḥat” [Kavvanah and Colors: A Neglected Kabbalistic Responsum]" Minḥa le-sara: meḥkarim be-filosofiah yehudit u-ve-kabbalah mugashim le-profesor Sarah O. Heller Wilensky [Tribute to Sarah: Studies in Jewish Philosophy and Kabbalah Presented to Professor Sarah O. Heller Wilensky] 1994 Jerusalem Magnes Press 1 14
33. Idel Moshe"“Peirusho shel R. Neḥemia ben Shlomo ha-navi la-piyyut El Na le-‘Olam Tu‘aratz” [R. Nehemia ben Shlomo the Prophet’s Commentary on the Piyyut El Na le-‘Olam Tu‘aratz]" Moreshet Israel 2005Vol 2 5 41
34. Idel Moshe Reiner Avraham (Rami), Hacker Joseph R., Halbertal Moshe, Idel Moshe, Kanarfogel Ephraim, Reiner Elchanan"“R. Nehemia ben Shlomo ha-navi ʿal magen david ve-ha-shem Taftafia: mi-magia yehudit le-kabbalah maʿasit u-le-kabbalah ʿiyunit” [R. Nehemia ben Shlomo the Prophet on the Magen David, the Name Taftafia: From Jewish Magic, to Practical Kabbalah, and to Theoretical Kabbalah]" Ta Shma: Meḥkarim be-madaʿei ha-yahadut le-zikhro shel Israel M. Ta-Shma [Ta Shma: Studies in Judaica in Memory of Israel M. Ta-Shma] 2011Vol vol. 1 Alon Shvut Tvunot 1 76
35. Idel Moshe"“Visualization of Colors, 1: David ben Yehudah he-Ḥasid’s Kabbalistic Diagram”" Ars Judaica 2015Vol 11 31 54
36. Idel Moshe"“Visualization of Colors, 2: Implications of David ben Yehudah he-Ḥasid’s Diagram for the History of Kabbalah”" Ars Judaica 2016Vol 12 39 51
37. Jones Louis C."“The Evil Eye among European-Americans”" Western Folklore 1951Vol 10 1 11 25 [Crossref]
38. Jones Louis C. Dundes Alan"“The Evil Eye among European-Americans”" The Evil Eye: A Casebook 1981 New York Garland 150 168
39. Kallus Menachem"“Two Mid-13th Century Kabbalistic Texts from the ‘Iyun Circle’”" 1992 Jerusalem The Hebrew University of Jerusalem Master’s thesis
40. Latham James E. Jones Lindsay"“Salt”" The Encyclopedia of Religion 1987Vol vol. 13 New York Macmillan 23 24
41. Liebes Yehuda"“Porphorita shel Helena mi-Troya ve-kidush ha-shem” [Helen’s Porphyry and Kiddush Ha-Shem]" Daat 2006Vol 57–59 83 119
42. Maloney Clarence The Evil Eye 1976 New York Columbia University Press
43. Matt Daniel C. The Zohar, Pritzker Edition, Volume Two 2004 Stanford Stanford University Press
44. Matt Daniel C. The Zohar, Pritzker Edition, Volume Six 2011 Stanford Stanford University Press
45. Matt Daniel C. The Zohar, Pritzker Edition, Volume Nine 2016 Stanford Stanford University Press
46. Mavor Carol Blue Mythologies: Reflections on a Colour 2013 London Reaktion Books
47. Murgoci Agnes"“The Evil Eye in Romania, and Its Antidotes”" Folklore 1923Vol 34 357 362 [Crossref]
48. Nelson Maggie Bluets 2009 Seattle and New York Wave Books
49. Neusner Jacob Sifre to Numbers: An American Translation and Explanation 1986Vol vol. 2 Atlanta Scholars Press
50. New York Jewish Theological Seminary Manuscript 8558 n.d. Microfilm F53277, The National Library of Israel.
51. Ophir Natan"“Tekhelet: Halakha, tseva, u-meditatsia” [Tekhelet: Halakha, Color, and Meditation]" Badad: ktav ʿet le-ʿinyanei Torah u-mada [Badad: Journal of Torah and Scholarship] 2006Vol 17 29 49
52. Osborne Roy Books on Colour since 1500: A History and Bibliography of Colour Literature 2013 Boca Raton, Fl. Universal Publishers
53. Pastoureau Michel Cruse Markus I. Blue: The History of a Color 2001 Princeton Princeton University Press
54. Patai Raphael"“T’khelet — Blue”" On Jewish Folklore 1983 Detroit Wayne State University Press 86 95
55. Peha Ithak Sefer ‘Oley ‘Ain 1990 Jerusalem ha-makhon le-ḥeker ha-refuah ba-halakha
56. Pleij Herman Colors Demonic and Divine: Shades and Meaning in the Middle Ages and After 2004 New York Columbia University Press
57. Porat Oded"“Tikun ha-ma‘agal: Yesodot ha-havaya ve-ha-yetsira ha-leshonit be-sefer ma‘ayan ha-ḥokhma u-be-ḥiburim ha-krovim elav” [“Founding of the Circle”: Rudiments of Esse and the Linguistic Creation in the Book “Fountain of Wisdom” and Its Related Treatises]" 2012 Jerusalem The Hebrew University of Jerusalem Ph.D. dissertation
58. "Ptil Tekhelet — The common thread uniting our Jewish past, present, and future" accessed 2 October 2015 url:
59. Rubens Alfred A History of Jewish Costume 1967 London Vallentine Mitchell
60. Sagiv Gadi"“Deep Blue: Notes on the Jewish Snail Fight”" Contemporary Jewry 2015Vol 35 3 285 313 [Crossref]
61. Schneider Michael"“Mar’e cohen: Theofania, apoteosa, ve-theologia binarit bein he-hagut ha-kohanit bi-tkufat ha-bait ha-sheni le-vein ha-mystica ha-yehudit ha-keduma” [The Appearance of the High Priest: Theophany, Apotheosis, and Binitarian Theology from Priestly Tradition to the Second Temple Period though Ancient Jewish Mysticism]" 2007 Jerusalem The Hebrew University of Jerusalem Ph.D. dissertation
62. Scholem Gershom Manheim Ralph On the Kabbalah and Its Symbolism 1965 New York Schocken Books
63. Scholem Gershom"“Colours and Their Symbolism in Jewish Tradition and Mysticism”" Diogenes 1979Vol 27 108 84 111 28(109): 64–76
64. Scholem Gershom On the Mystical Shape of the Godhead: Basic Concepts in the Kabbalah 1991 New York Schocken Books
65. Séd Nicolas"“Le Mystère des Couleurs de J. Gikatilla”" Chrysopoeia 1987Vol 1 3 20
66. Sterman Baruch, Taubes Sterman Judy The Rarest Blue: The Remarkable Story of an Ancient Color Lost to History and Rediscovered 2012 Guildford, Ct. Lyons Press
67. Trachtenberg Joshua Jewish Magic and Superstition: A Study in Folk Religion 1939 New York Behrman’s Jewish Book House
68. Ulmer Rivka The Evil Eye in the Bible and in Rabbinic Literature 1994 Hoboken, NJ KTAV
69. Vital Haim Sha‘ar ma’amarei rashbi 1988 Jerusalem
70. Wolfson Elliot R. Through a Speculum that Shines: Vision and Imagination in Medieval Jewish Mysticism 1994 Princeton Princeton University Press
71. Zabolotnaya Natasha Esther"“Cosmology and Color Symbolism in R. Eleazar of Worms”" Kabbalah 2004Vol 12 45 80

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Numen — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation