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ArJewTino

“Latins are tenderly enthusiastic. In Brazil, they throw flowers at you. In Argentina, they throw themselves." -- Marlene Dietrich

What came first? The colors or the flag?

During a conversation with my gentile co-workers last week, I was asked, “Why is Judaism symbolized by the colors blue and white?” I got ready to provide an answer when I realized I had none.

“It’s because of the Israeli flag,” one of the goyim proffered.

“I don’t think so,” I replied. “It’s like the chicken-and-the-egg dilemma. Which came first? The colors or the flag?”

In other words, is the Israeli flag composed of blue and white because of some past tradition, or is Judaism associated with those colors because of the flag?

In honor of the first night of Hanukkah tonight, I decided to do a little research. And by “do a little research”, I mean “search on Wikipedia”.

As it turns out (and as is usually the case), there is not just one reason but a slew of complex factors for why blue and white are the colors of choice for the Chosen People.

My favorite answer is the easiest. According to a 19th-century Zionist poem, white symbolizes great faith; blue, the firmament. But it doesn’t really end there. Blue also symbolizes divinity, equilibrium, and truth.

So due to a combination of historical symbols, tradition, and the Israeli flag, blue has become the holy Jewish color.

Happy Hanukkah, goyim and tribe members!


P.S. For a very funny and demystifying examination of Jewish traditions, read bettyjoan’s post. Here’s a preview:

The Chalice of Immortality: In my family, we would traditionally bring this out on the first night of Hanukkah. My father would recite a prayer as we passed the chalice around, taking turns drinking the blood of Christians from it. Every Jewish family I know has one of these but for some reason they are not as commonly associated with Hanukkah as the menorah or those chocolate coins, which, if I’m not mistaken, also contain the blood of Christians. For confirmation on that last part, I’d suggest consulting a rabbi or chocolatier.
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