Menorah: just on time

"There are images of dragons carved into the base."

"The steps are attached!"

"The branches are curved."

Relief on the Arch of Titus in Rome
My year eight Jewish History class was examining the details on the Menorah depicted on the Arch of Titus. After listing the various descriptions on the board, we turned to a posuk describing the original Menorah.

I read the source aloud, "יוצאים מצידי-ה" I read the source aloud, then paused. "Hang on, what parsha is it this week?"

"Terumah!" they chorused.

Wow! Talk about timing...

Rambam's Sketch of the Menorah
The posuk we were referencing was in this week's Parsha!! That was just too perfect. Hence, I have a wee little Dvar Torah to post here.

What was the shape of the Menorah' branches? Huge debate. Rashi described the branches as protruding from the center of the Menorah at a diagonal. In his words, "לכאן ולכאן באלכסון". Rambam concurred with this view in his famous sketch of the Menorah. His son, Avraham, explained that his father had purposely drawn the branches as pictured.

Ibn Ezra championed for curved branches, and the modern State of Israel followed his view.

What shape was the Menorah kindled by Aron Hakohen? Well, to find out, you'd have to sit in and discuss it with my girls...


  1. It is interesting that despite the majority of traditional sources, the Menora and Luchos (Tablet's of Moses) are commonly pictured as being round.
    Our tradition champions an exact and 'straight' path, whereas modern culture favors 'curves' when convenient or for aesthetic beauty.


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