The Menorah has to come to represent the Jewish people more than any other symbol.
Today the menorah is a symbol of the modern state of Israel. The menorah appears in Israel's courts and is embossed on official stationery. However, it is a symbol that has endured over 3000 years. Over these 3000 years the menorah has been carved in stone, painted, decorated mosaic floors.
"And thou shalt make a candlestick of pure gold of beaten work shall the candlestick be made: his shaft and his branches, his bowls, his knops and his flowers, shall be of the same. And six branches shall come out of the sides of it; three branches of the candlesticks out of the one side and three branches of the candlesticks out of the other side: three bowls made like unto almonds with a knop and a flower in one branch; and three bowls made like unto almonds in the other branch with a knop and a flower: so in the six branches that come out of the candlesticks. And in the candlestick shall be four bowls made like unto almonds with their knops and their flowers. And there shall be of a same: all of it shall be one beaten work of pure gold. And thou shalt make the seven lamps thereof: and they shall light the lamps thereof that they may give light over lamps thereof: and they shall light the lamps thereof that they may give light over against it" (Ex. 25:31-37)
Throughout the centuries of exile the Jewish people carried with them a menorah as a symbol of their history. The menorah was a emblem of their eternal belief in G-d's word, the eventual redemption of the people and their eventual return to the Land of Israel.
The prophet Zechariah had a vision described in Chapter 4:2-6
"I saw a menorah of gold… with seven lamps on it, with seven moldings in the seven lamps. There were two olive trees beside the menorah, one of each side of it.
Then I asked the angel, 'What do these things mean, my lord?'
And the angel said to me, 'Do you know?' And I said, 'No, my lord.' Then he said, 'This is the word of the Lord unto Zrubavel:
Not by might nor by power, but by my spirit, says the Lord.' “
Zechariah, returning with the people from Babylonia, understood the meaning of these words to be the "Light unto the World" as this saying was revealed to Zechariah in the seven flames of the menorah.
The menorah stretches between earthbound man and the purity and perfection of G-d. His light transcends all and beckons us towards higher ideals and holiness. It is said that there are seven branches to represent the seven days of the week: the Sabbath in the center and the others for each day. It reminds us that G-d is present in each and every day and is the eternal light of the world.
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