Origins of the Seven Branch Menorah
The seven branched Menorah has a unique tale to tell, with origins and history as far back as the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and the Tabernacle (in hebrew the Mishkan) even before that. Carved out of a solid block of gold, it stood tall and proud in the Temple holding the oil candles that lit up the Beit Hamikdash through day and night, never going out or failing. Called the 'ner hamaaravi' and 'ner elokim' it was thought to symbolize the resting of G-d's presence or shechina on the people of Israel. It was lit with consecrated olive oil taken from the first squeeze of oil coming from olives, and sealed with a high priest's blessing. It was taken away to Babylon after the first Temple fell, and while there is no specific mention of it being brought back for the second temple, there would have been a need for illumination there, so a 7 candle Menorah was probably made or found. In any event, the Arch of Titus has a relief of the Menorah, as well as other Temple artifacts, being carried away after the second Temple fell. Modern Use of the Menorah
A symbol of closeness with G-d and historic Israel, many homes choose to show a replica of the 7 branch menorah as a symbol of a mighty history and a rare connection with G-d, and it makes a beautiful piece of Judaica art telling the story of the Temple and bringing some of its holiness to your home. Synagogues also often have a seven candle Menorah on display in front of the Torah's ark, called the 'ner tamid' which is hebrew for ever-burning candle, symbolizing the eternal light of G-d and the continually lit Menorah of the temple.
Hanukkah menorahs are based on the temple menorah, but that they have 8 branches plus the shamash. The difference in number of branches is to symbolize the eight miraculous days that the small pitcher of oil burned in the temple menorah in the time of the Hanukkah story. This Menorah is similar but not quite the same as the temple menorah, due to the two extra candles. The reason this miracle is so unique is that the small amount of high priest sealed olive oil was all that was left of the appropriate oil to light the temple menorah, and should not have lasted that long, however continued to burn for the full 8 days needed to procure more of the special oil. 7 Branch Menorah State of Israel Symbol
The state of Israel has also adopted the seven branch menorah as a symbol of a Jewish state, and chose this design as the state emblem surrounded by an olive branch and the Hebrew word Israel. Commonly found in blue and white, the state emblem can be found also in other colors. Many flags of cities in Israel feature the seven branch menorah.
Israel-catalog.com has a 7 Branch Menorah for sale section, where you can choose the perfect design for your home or synagogue or sanctuary.
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