The Menorah brings us back to the days of Israel delivered from slavery and being formed into a nation even as a generation wandered in the desert. A key element in unifying the Jewish people to become “one nation under God” was the Mishkan, the Tabernacle in the Wilderness, with the golden seven-branched candelabra lighting the way (Num. 25:31-39).
Centuries later, it was the Menorah that became symbolic of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, where it stood in the Holy Place, along with the incense altar and the table for the showbread. Each evening it was lit by one of the Levites.
In the days of the Maccabees (1st-2nd centuries BC), the Menorah became a symbol of the national aspirations of the Jewish people. When the Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD, the victors used the Menorah to parade their conquest of the Jewish people by setting it atop the Arch of Titus outside the Colosseum in Rome. The Destruction of the Temple, and the capture of the Menorah, ended Jewish autonomy in the...
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