Why the Menorah Is the Most Enduring of All Jewish Symbols – Flux Magazine

Posted By on July 4, 2020

words Alexa Wang

Like other cultures and faiths, Jewish people have developed a rich religious and cultural heritage before four thousand years ago.

All the cultures have their own significant symbols and Judaism has too, such as a tallit, tefillin, kippah, seder plate, kiddush cup, Shabbat candles, etc. Menorah is one of these oldest and recognized symbols of Jewish culture and rituals.

It was a seven-branched candelabrum and constructed with pure gold. According to the bible, after the Israelite left Egypt G-d has spoken to Moses to build menorah and use it in the Tabernacle and Miskhan to worship G-d. the priest lit the menorah with pure olive oil everyday. Later, in the temple of Jerusalem, priests start lighting the menorah during worship services.

As first mentioned in the biblical book, the design of the lampwas revealed by G-d to Moses on Mount Sinai.The design of the lamp was forged out of a single piece of the gold shaft andthree branches on each side, totaling six branches. The central gold shaft wasflanked by three lights on each side to signify the Sabbath. Its shape wassuggested to build to signify the tree of life and first it was put in theTabernacle.

The temple of Solomon had ten golden branched candelabras and thesecond temple which was built after the Jews left Egypt has introduced 7 branchedmenorahs. In the 70s century during the destruction of the second temple,menorah disappeared.

The Talmud has reconstructed it in the Jerusalem temple and considers it as the mostuniversal symbol of Judaism. During the early modern times, this most popularsymbol has given way to Star of David but in the 19th century, it wasconsidered as the symbol of Zionists. In the 20th century, it has become theofficial symbol of the state of Israel.

So many myths about seven branches of the menorah. According tothe most popular one, the central light represents the Sabbath and its sixbranches symbolize the world created in seven days.

According to Jewish community the menorah spread the light of G-d. Lets look more into the history and myths of the menorah.

Hanukkah menorah:

Hanukkah is one of the Jewish holidays and some of the mythsalso associate with Hanukkah. When the desecration happened in the Jerusalem temple, they hadonly few quantity of olive oil to burn the flames of the temple. By miracle,the flames burned for eight days with such a less quantity of olive oil and thusthey got time to make new pure oil.

The Talmud states to the Jewish community that it is prohibitedto use seven-branched menorah and raised nine-branched Hanukkah menorah. Talmudsymbolized the central shaft as the Shamash light and used it to kindle theother eight branches of the Hanukkah menorah.

Themodern Jewish menorah!

In the earlier period of modern times, the synagogues hascontinually lit seven-branched menorah and named it as ner tamid. Many of thesynagogues have displayed artistic menorah, appearing in the coat of arms inthe state of Israel.When the menorah symbolized as the symbol of the State of Israel, the Jewishcommunity started lighting 7 branched menorahs in the temples.

For the Jewish people, it is not only a symbol of faith in Godbut they consider it as the lamp ofthe jews. The menorah has both religious and secular roots.Jewish people used to consider olive oil as the purest oil and thats why allthe traditional foods are fried by olive oil in the Jewish community.

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Why the Menorah Is the Most Enduring of All Jewish Symbols - Flux Magazine

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