Above: Rabbi Aharon Leib Steinman
Top Ashkenazi Haredi Rabbinic Leader Bans Red Tablecloths As Non-Jewish
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
The supreme leader of non-hasidic Ashkenazi haredim worldwide, 100-year-old Rabbi Aharon Leib Steinman, attended a Torah study event for in his yeshiva.
According to a report in the haredi news website Behadrei Haredim, after giving a brief talk, Steinman noticed that tables had been covered with red tablecloths.
Startled, Steinman exclaimed, "Red! This is for the goyyim [non-Jews]. It is forbidden to follow the ways of the goyyim!"
The yeshiva's rabbis immediately removed the tablecloths.
There is no Jewish law prohibiting the use of red tablecloths or other red items or red clothing, save from a halakha (Jewish law) prohibiting a woman from dressing in a predominantly red garment because it draws too much attention to her and is not considered to be modest.
The color red is associated with Esau, the older brother of the biblical patriarch Jacob/Israel, because Esau allegedly had red hair. The biblical nation of Edom, adjacent to the biblical Land of Israel, is viewed as Easua's progeny, and rabbinic literature views the name Edom as a play on the Hebrew word for red. Rome is viewed in rabbinic literature as a descendant of Edom. Rome eventually destryed the Second Jerusalem Temple after a failed revolt sparked by Jewish zealots and terrorists thought to be the children and grandchildren of early rabbis from Beit Shammai, the second of the two prominent rabbinic factions of the First Century CE.
But even with those rabbinic claims and that history, there is still no known Jewish law prohibiting wearing red or using red tablecloths.