@ History of 7 Branch Menorahs
The seven branch Menorah as a symbol
The 7 branch Menorah is one of the oldest religious Jewish symbols. It originated from the Menorah placed in the Temple in Jerusalem and has subsequently become both a prominent symbol of Judaism and the official symbol of the State of Israel and its Knesset (Parliament).
The Menorah also symbolises the seven days of the creation, with the centre light representing the Shabbath. It is also said to symbolise the burning bush as seen by Moses on Mount Horeb (Exodus 3).
The genesis of the 7 branch Menorah
The Hebrew Bible states that God commanded Moses to make the Menorah and revealed to him its design and construction:
"And you shall make a candlestick of pure gold. The base and the shaft of the candlestick shall be made of hammered work, its cups, its capitals, and its flowers shall be of one piece with it; and there shall be six branches going out of its sides, three branches of the candlestick out of one side of it and three branches of the candlestick out of the other side of it; three cups made like almonds, each with capitals and flower, on one branch, and three cups made like almonds, each with capital and flower, on the other branch - so for the six branches going out of the candlestick; and on the candlestick itself four cups made like almonds, with their capitals and flowers, and a capital of one piece with it under each pair of the six branches going out from the candlestick. Their capitals and their branches shall be of one piece with it, the whole of it one piece of hammered work of pure gold." (Exodus XXV, 31 –36)
The design of the 7 branch Menorah
The Menorah consisted of a base and a shaft with six branches, beaten out of solid gold. The six branches curved to the height of the central shaft so that all seven lamps at their apexes were in a straight line.
Dozens of ancient drawings of the Temple Menorah have been discovered by archaeological excavations all over the world dating from the time of the Second Temple and onwards, of which the most famous is the depiction on the Gate of Titus in Rome.
Most of the archaeological findings show rounded branches and some have a top pole, which seems to connect all the nests for the candles together. The reason for adding the pole to the Menorah seems to have been the softness of the gold metal of which the original Temple Menorah was made - the pole was needed to hold the heavy weight of the seven branches of the Menorah together.
You will find images of a few of the archaeological findings on Rimmon Judaica's website below. For our Seven branch menorahs please click on the link to your left or press here. Thanks.
More information about Jewish symbols can be found under ‘more information section’ – here for Glossary and here for information about the Jewish Holidays
Found in Sepphoris, Israel, part of the synagogue mosaic dating from the time of the Mishnah
Found in Etching on the wall of Ahhirodiany quarter in Jerusalem, Israel, dating from the time of The Temple
Etching on the Coffin burial, Time unknown