Shabbat Message: The Best-Known Symbol

March 8, 2019
By Beth Mordecai
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Shabbat Message: The Best-Known Symbol

In the middle of the winter, we gather together to enjoy as much fried food as we can stomach and to light the Chanukkiah. A Chanukkiah is a kind of a Menora that is specifically for Chanukkah. The Menora was initially made for the Mishkan, or Tabernacle, that was our portable temple while we, the Israelites wandered in the wilderness.

In our Pasha this week, Pekudei, the Torah describes the Menora as having seven branches. The artisans made the Menora by hammering out the shape from one single piece of metal rather than being made from separate pieces of metal that were joined together. The Menora was first placed in the Mishkan and later in the Temple in Jerusalem. It has become one of Judaism’s best-known symbols.

The prophet Zechariah prophesies about the Menora and the olive branches. The arch of Titus in Rome clearly shows the Menora as one of the vessels taken from the Second Temple.

Shortly after the founding of Israel, a call was issued for designing the official emblem of the state. The winning design was a seven-branched Menora flanked by two olive branches above the word “Israel.” This symbol incorporates our biblical roots, our connection to God, represented by the Menora and our hope for peace, represented by the olive branches.

If you were making an emblem for Israel, what would you include? Please share your thoughts with me at

Shabbat Shalom

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat