About Menorah

The history of the menorah begins with Bezalel, who created the first six branched lamp in accordance to detailed Divine instructions. These instructions are recorded in Exodus 25:31-40:

“31 And thou shalt make a candlestick of pure gold: of beaten work shall the candlestick be made, even its base, and its shaft; its cups, its knops, and its flowers, shall be of one piece with it. 32 And there shall be six branches going out of the sides thereof: three branches of the candlestick out of the one side thereof, and three branches of the candle-stick out of the other side thereof…”

After completing the first Temple King Solomon has placed Bezalel’s menorah inside where it stood together with nine more menorahs. They stood there for four hundred years until 586 B.C.E. when Nebuchadnetzar, King of Babylon, destroyed the temple and all its content including the ten pure gold menorahs.

Seventy years later the second temple was build and once it was completed, one seven branches menorah, made out of pure gold was placed inside.

After the great victory of the Maccabees over the Greek, Judah Maccabee and his soldiers went to the holy Temple only to find the golden menorah broken; they have repaired the menorah and decided to light the holy lamp. Unfortunately they could only find oil that will last them for one day. Miraculously, this oil lasted for eight days, giving them enough time to obtain new oil to keep the menorah lit.

At 70 B.C.E the Temple was destroyed again, this time by the Romans, the menorah was taken to Rome by Titus, the Roman general, who displayed the menorah during the triumphant homecoming parade where humiliated Jewish captives were forced to carry the menorah as a symbol of their own defeat. A depiction of this event is preserved on the Arch of Titus that still stands today in Rome.

The gate of Titus

The jewish menorah on the gate of Titus – Rome


Following the destruction of the Temple, the menorah became an important symbol of Jewish history. It is a reminder of the sovereignty of the Temple. And even due the location of the original menorah is unknown today- the symbolism lives on; the national emblem of the State of Israel is a menorah, flanked by two olive branches.


Israel Menorah emblem

The Israel Menorah emblem

One of the oldest symbols of the Jewish faith is the 7 branch menorah.


Unlike the 9 branch Hanukkah menorah, the 7 branch menorah has no Shamash, and it has just seven branches, that is because the purpose of the Hanukkah menorah is to remember the miracle of oil at Hanukkah, whereas the 7 branch menorah was the vessel that G-d used to blend the spiritual life that is to come with the physical life of this world.

According to the commandment in Exodus 25:31- 41 the Kohanim should light the menorah in the Sanctuary every evening and clean it out every morning, replacing the wicks and putting fresh olive oil into the cups.


The 7 branch menorah can come in many different sizes and can be lit with oil, candles and today you can even find electric ones.

There are various styles of menorahs:  for example, the “Large Cups Menorah” is considered closest to the menorah that was found in the temple and the “12 Tribes Menorah” carries the symbols of each of the 12 tribes of Israel: Asher, Benjamin, Dan, Gad, Issachar, Joseph, Judah, Levi, Naphtali, Reuben, Simeon and Zebulon.

The Gold Menorah

Gold Menorah – according to canonical sources, is produced in the exact same form as the menorah that stood in the ancient Jewish Temple, The Beit HaMikdash, in Jerusalem

The menorah is a symbol of peace and light that Israel should spread to the entire world. The sages emphasize that Israel is to accomplish its mission by setting an example, not by using force. This idea is highlighted in the vision in Zechariah 4:1-6. Zechariah sees a menorah, and G-d explains: “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit.” Here G-d explains that Israel should spread peace by the power of his spirit- the power of light- the power of the menorah.

Israel Emblem / Menorah

Israel Emblem / Menorah

The MENORA is the main part of the Israeli STATE EMBLEM.  This emblem is “older” than the Israeli flag and the National Anthem.


With the establishment of the State of Israel, in 1948, there was a need for a national symbol, in addition to the flag and the anthem. The Provisional State Council appealed to the residents, asking for suggestions for an official national emblem. Hundreds of proposals were submitted to the committee and after a long process, three proposals were selected. Eventually, in February 1949, the Provisional State Council selected the proposal submitted by the designers, the brothers Gabriel and Maxim Shamir.

The symbol the Shamir brothers offered:
In the center, they placed the MENORA – a seven branches candelabrum decorated with olive branches on either sides. The olive branches meet at the bottom of the MENORA, holding between them the name ISRAEL.

The designers of the Israeli Emblem explained precisely why they chose the seven branches candelabrum:  It represents the glorious past of the Jewish people, and unlike The Star of David – is a unique symbol that is not used by any other state or nation.

The MENORA is actually an ancient Jewish symbol, appearing on mosaic floors of ancient synagogues in Israel and on ancient coins. This icon is based on the golden candelabrum that existed in The Temple.

According to the description in Exodus and the Babylonian Talmud, the MENORA was made entirely of gold, with a central pillar that stood on a three-legged base – like the description of the MENORA on the mosaic floor of the ancient synagogue in Beit Shean. From the central pillar, rose to each side three pillars, each one was decorated at three points by a bud and a flower.

According to the Bible, Book of Kings A, chapter 7, verse 49,  in the Temple of King Solomon (First Temple) there were ten golden candelabrums. In the Second Temple, there was only one golden MENORA.

In the year 70 AD, following the Great Revolt against the Romans, the Roman army destroyed Jerusalem and the Second Temple. Titus, the Roman army commander, took the Seven Branches Golden MENORA and the rest of the temple to Rome, and introduced them to a victory parade through the city. The parade, with captive Jews carrying the MENORA, was caught in relief on the Arch of Titus in Rome. That MENORA on the relief has the seven branches, but its other details are probably not conforming to the original MENORA of the Second Temple.