The menorah was the seven-branched candelabrum first designed for the Tabernacle according to the Lord’s instructions.
“Make a lampstand of pure gold and hammer it out, base and shaft; its flowerlike cups, buds and blossoms shall be of one piece with it.”
Three branches extended out from each side with cups shaped like almond blossoms and buds. The candelabrum was lit every evening with the purest of olive oil. Some believe that the Menorah symbolized the burning bush seen by Moses on Mount Sinai.
The 7-branched menorah stood in both Solomon’s Temple and in the Second Temple of Jesus’ day. Josephus the Jewish/Roman historian wrote that the seven branches represented the universe with its seven planets (known in the Roman world).
When the Romans conquered Jerusalem in 70 AD, they captured the menorah and brought it back to Rome. It was prominently paraded around the capital city and was featured on Roman emperor Titus’ victory column in the Roman Forum.
Once the Temple was destroyed, the menorah became a symbol of Jewish aspirations to rebuild the Temple. In Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter, on the Cardo, don’t miss viewing a replica of the 7-branched golden menorah constructed by the Temple Institute.