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  • Writer's pictureLeann Shamash

In Living Color

Updated: Mar 2, 2023

Parshat Tetzaveh is the second parsha where directions are given for the building of the Mishkan. This amazing parsha is largely devoted to the clothing of the Kohen Gadol and the other priests. We are given a detailed shopping list of precious gems, colorful threads and fabrics which talented artisans will sew, smelt, weave and design.

These descriptions brought me back to a strong memory I have of my childhood which I have tried to link to the this very color filled parsha.

In Living Color

For Jayne

  1. Kansas, suburbia and Oz

I remember sitting cross legged with my childhood friend on the floor in

suburbia, 1966,

by a coffee table festooned with orange and green paper mache vegetables.

Eight feet away, glorious to behold,

stood a colored television.

Something new under the sun.

It was time to meet the wizard;

to travel to Oz in living color.

In Kansas the world was grayscale

and when the house landed with a thump

the door opened.

Black and white turned to gleaming green.

Before our ten year old eyes

Dorothy’s ruby slippers were impossibly sparkly.

The yellow brick road was positively golden and Glinda was a peachy dream in voluminous tulle.

Even the munchkin's chitter chatter echoed in technicolor.

The humdrum of Kansas to a twisting tornado of radiant hues;

an visual oasis in a desert of grayscale.



electrifying the senses.

* * * * * * *

2. Long ago in the Sinai

a people walked through the wilderness.

Although the reds of the mountains were seen in the distance,

and inky blue skies stared at them at night,

each day the people moved through the desert

in grayscale.

The earth, dry and gray,

the cracked soil.

Elephant Gray.

Dolphin Gray.

Squirrel Gray.

Day after day.

Gray after gray.

Until the building began.

Gathering donations.

Weaving, smelting, sewing.

Collections of blue, purple and crimson threads.

Fine linens, and shining, shimmering gold.

The bluest lazuli stones,

emeralds, turquoise, sapphires,

deep purple amethysts,

orange agates,

crystals that caught the light

and created rainbows on the earth.

The finest gold cords and chains,

robes adorned with ruby red pomegranates,

tiny tinkling bells singing their chimes into the desert wind.

All in living color.


The grayscale of the desert and

swirls and sheafs of radiant color

An oasis of hues and shades.

Color, a vitamin for the eyes,

uplifting the spirits.

* * * * * * * * *

3. Kansas, Oz or Sinai

Wherever we go

our eyes yearn

to see past the grayscale,

to rejoice in colors

Grayscale we forget.

Reds, blues, purples, yellows

ignite us,

help to open our eyes.

Cause our hearts to skip a beat.

Be dazzled.

In suburbia,



or Sinai.

…they, therefore, shall receive the gold, the blue, purple, and crimson yarns, and the fine linen.

They shall make the ephod of gold, of blue, purple, and crimson yarns, and of fine twisted linen, worked into designs.

Exodus 28:25,26

Translation from Sefaria

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