Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Lost Culture

Star of David remains from a destroyed synagogue in Bonn, Germany.

Picture is courtesy of Maxg from Flickr.

Destroyed Synagogue

Star of David on a German sign in Bonn - picture is courtesy of maxg from Flickr who translated the sign from German: 

"Close to this place stood the synagogue, built in the year 1878, and with the Nazi acts of violence against our Jewish fellow citizens on 9 November 1938, destroyed."

Who invented the Jewish Star of David?

Most Jews are proud of their Star of David without knowing who invented it or where it came from. Even the renowned Rabbi Moshe Feinstein wrote explicitly in his book, Igrot Moshe, that "We don't have the origin of the form of the Magen David".


When asked some cling to the legend about the Shield of King David or the Seal of King Solomon, Or the Shield of Bar Kochba, but they have no artifact or research to prove their argument.


Others say that the Star of David came from the Yellow patch that the Nazis made the Jews wear during the Holocaust. They believe that the fact that it is now in the center of the Israeli flag is a kind of poetic justice, similar to the Christian explanation about the origin of their emblem from the structure on which Jesus was crucified; Measure for measure – what served as a source of shame became a source of pride.


Not knowing about the origin of your emblem is not as bad as knowing that it came from other cultures. Many young Israelis travel to India and are surprised to discover their national symbol on the walls of many ancient temples. The Internet is full with theories about the ancient pagan and astrological origins of this symbol.  It is important to notice that although the Star of David is a hexagram, a six pointed star, not every hexagram is a Star of David.


Uri Ofir came up with a research in which he has a very good explanation about the origin of the Jewish Magen David from the Menorah in the Tabernacle. It was made by the Lord and not by a human being about a year after the exodus of the sons of Israel from Egypt. This theory satisfies the need to know but more than that – it provides a new source of pride, and a new educational tool.


What amazes me is that very few people know about Uri Ofir's research. He is lecturing about it every week for years and the audiences are always surprised and disappointed they didn't hear about it beforehand. I hope that by translating his research from Hebrew and by writing this posting I'll help the message get through.