Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Star of David and the Menorah

The Magen David and the Menorah (like also the Ten Commandments, the map of Israel, the Israeli flag, the Western Wall) are synonymous symbols that competed in the past and compete also nowadays on the representation of the Jewish nation, Zionism and the State of Israel.

Until the destruction of the Second Temple by the year of 70 C.E. the Menorah served as tool of worship. Since then it serves as symbol to the destruction of the Second Temple, to the holocaust, and to the revival of Israel. The Magen David serves also, in the form of the yellow patch, as symbol to the holocaust, and, in center the Israeli flag, to the revival of the Jewish Nation.

The Menorah symbolizes the creation of the world in seven days; the central candle symbolizes the seventh Day. The Magen David also symbolizes (among other things) the creation of the world in seven days, while its invisible center symbolizes the seventh Day.

In the Menorah were 22 cups representing the alphabet characters. Nethaniel Yaakov Daniel from Tel Aviv discovered these 22 characters recently in the shape of the Magen David.

Since the Magen David and the Menorah symbolize similar things no wonder they were competitors. On the other hand, since it is hard to decide whom to use, there is no wonder that people decide "to go for sure" and to use them both.

Prominent example to the competition between the Magen David and the Menorah in the generation of the decision makers we will be able to find in the discussions of the committee of the flag and the symbol by the year of 1948. In the Course of time indeed the Menorah was chosen to symbolize the state, but during the discussions rose number of times offers to introduce along side also the Magen David (that found its way to the center of the Israeli flag).

The controversy in the Jewish tradition concerning the source of the Magen David proves how much it was important to the Israeli nation to decide which of the two symbols was more important. The acceptable version is indeed that king David used a shield carrying upon it a Magen David, but there were during history important leaders who claimed that on the Shield of David was the form of the Menorah. For instance: Rabbi Chaim Yosef David Azulai in his book "Midbar Kedamot", Yitzhak Arama in his book "Akedat Yitzhak", Rabbi Zvi Elimelach Shapira in his book "Bney Isaskhar " and Rabbi Hayim Elazar Shapira in his book "Divrey Torah". The Menorah was during generations the senior representative of our nation - archaeologists discovered in their excavations many more Menorahs than Magen Davids… Nowadays it seems as if the controversy was ended, and the Magen David takes the first place as our national symbol.

An Interesting position in this controversy has researcher Uri Ofir that proves in his study on the Jewish source of the Magen David according to traditional sources that these two symbols equal in their importance. He shows that the Magen Davids held the candles in the Tabernacle Menorah after the Exodus. Since the lamp in its entirety was not made by hand it must have been made by the Lord in person - so that the Lord is responsible both to the form of the Magen David and to the form of the.

A Number of examples to the partnership of these symbols:
In synagogues and in Jewish cemeteries the Magen Davids and the Menorah appear frequently together. These two symbols appear frequently together also on Happy New Year and on Ex- Libris in the years before the establishment of the state of Israel.
 Magen David and Menorah appear together in the Rali Museum in Caesarea from October 1993 above marble sculpture of People that contributed to establish the state: Hertzel, Weitzmann, Arthur James Balfour, Harry Truman and David Ben Gurion.

In the holocaust memorial of Estonia, there is a Magen David carved on one side and a Menorah on the other.
In the holocaust memorial of Bialistok, there is a Magen David formed by pebbles alongside a tombstone with a Menorah.
A Menorah and a yellow Magen David (in memory of the yellow patch?) appear on the Memorial in Herzl Mount for the Jewish fighters in the Polish Army who lost their lives in WWII. In addition, there’s in Herzl Mount another large statue of a Menorah on a Magen David.
Menorah and a Magen David are the elements that compose the logo of the World Zionist Congress.
On a JNF postage stamp (“for Torah and certificate”) these two symbols appear along with the flag.
Nazi Propaganda postcard shows President Roosevelt holding Menorah and a Magen David to show how he backs the Jews and identifies with them.

The Magen David and the Menorah were prevalent motives in Bezalel art at the start of previous century.

Artist Chanoch Ben Dov erected in Maalot a big statue of a Menorah with a Magen David at its bottom.

In the 5 November 2007 the sculpture David’s Menorah by artist David Soussanna was placed in Jerusalem near the Knesset.

In a number of works by Aviva Beigel appear Israeli identity symbols including the Magen David and the Menorah.

In an article in Yediot Ahronot from 20 April 2007 Jasmine Levy interviewed five Israeli artists about changing the Israeli flag. Yaacov Agam said that the Magen David is not a Jewish symbol and suggested to replace it with the rainbow, which is the Menorah upside down.

The logo of the Messianic Jews is a combination of a Menorah with a Magen David and a fish.

In the Karaite Synagogue in Moshav Matzliach the Menorah appears along with a Magen David and the Ten Commandments.