I've seen people with their hair dyed green, but I was under the impression that nobody has naturally green hair. But Rashi says (Tazria 13:37)

שער שחר - מנין אף הירוק והאדום שאינו צהוב? תלמוד לומר ושער. Black hair - how do we know that green or red hair that's not gold [are the same as black]? Because it says "and"

It's pretty clear that ירוק is green, like in modern Hebrew, because it means grass and tree leaves in several places (Bereishit 1:30, Shemot 10:15, ......).

Tzaraat itself is not a natural disease. It would be interesting if a known cure is also a miracle unlike anything that happens naturally. Is that what green hair means? Or does ירוק mean something else? Or are there actually people with naturally green hair?


1 Answer 1


Yarok here means yellow, as DoubleAA wrote in the comments. As for your question, what is the difference between Yarok and Tzahov, see Rashi on the passuk who says Tzahov is similar to gold. So now we have two colors in the yellow family, one we'll call yellow which is pure, and one which we'll call a golden yellow which is impure.

See also Tosafos Succah 31b s.v. Hayarok for the different color connotations Yarok has.

  • judaism.stackexchange.com/q/15347/759 (frankly possible dupe i think)
    – Double AA
    Apr 7, 2016 at 15:11
  • 3
    I just want to mention that this also a likely explanation for the description of the appearence Esther and some other women as "y'rakreket". It probably means "sallow" or jaundiced. PS - Thanks for the reference. I've seen that Tosafot many years ago and forgot where it was.
    – mzk1
    Apr 7, 2016 at 18:06
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    Scientists have studied how languages/cultures categorize colors. It seems the color wheel is universal to humanity, as no language has the same word for opposite colors, nor for colors that involve a skip on the wheel. Classical "yarok" could mean anything in the contiguous range of green to yellow.
    – Shalom
    Apr 7, 2016 at 18:25

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