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History of the Holy Temple Menorah

 

History of the Holy Temple Menorah

 

Temple Institute Menorah

 

Building The Menorah

 

"And you shall make a menorah of pure gold. The menorah shall be made of hammered work; its base and its stem, its goblets, its knobs, and its flowers shall all be one piece with it. And six branches coming out of its sides: three menorah branches from its one side and three menorah branches from its second side. Three decorated goblets on one branch, a knob and a flower, and three decorated goblets on one branch, a knob and a flower; so for the six branches that come out of the menorah. And on the stem of the menorah shall be four decorated goblets, its knobs and its flowers. And a knob under the two branches from it, and a knob under the two branches from it, and a knob under the two branches from it; so for the six branches that come out of the menorah. Their knobs and their branches shall all be one piece with it; all of it shall be one hammered mass of pure gold. And you shall make its lamps seven, and he shall kindle its lamps so that they shed light toward its face. And its tongs and its scoops shall be of pure gold. He shall make it of a talent of pure gold, with all these implements. Now see and make according to their pattern, which you are shown on the mountain." (Exodus 25:31-40)

Torah describes the menorah in great detail: what is should be made of, its ornamental features, and how it should be made. According to Midrash, Moshe rabbenu (Moses our master), in spite of all the details, or perhaps, because of all the details, was perplexed as to the construction of the menorah. The Midrash suggests that the making of the menorah in the desert was miraculous. Yet other commentators try to solve the mystery be proposing different methods by which the menorah could have been constructed.

The painting show the menorah being manufactured by beaten work, the hammering of the gold into the prescribed shape. This interpretation is based on a close reading of the expression, "hammered work." The photos show stages of the construction of the present day menorah. The photo on the right shows artisans preparing the menorah's substructure.

Next: Building the Menorah: Cast in a Mold?

 

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