Monday, February 07, 2011

The Real Shape of the Holy Temple's Menorah

We spoke earlier of the error being propagated by incorrectly portraying the Tablets of the Ten Commandments as rounded at their top (until today, even in orthodox circles), when in fact their front and back surfaces were squares, while their 4 sides were rectangular.
(Dimensions: 1 x 1 x .5 cubits)

Also commonly distorted is the shape of the Menorah of the Holy Temple. Here too the mistake is that they curve or round out the branches, when, in fact - they were straight! Maimonides, in his work on Mishnayot (Menachot 3:7), includes therein his own drawing of the Menorah (see accompanying draft). Rashi too confirms this opinion (Ex. 25, 32).

The Menorah's popular image, with curved branches, originates from the Menorah engraved in the Arch of Titus, in Rome. Titus, the Roman general who conquered Jerusalem and destroyed the second Holy Temple, built this gate to commemorate his illustrious victory.

His craftsmen, however, rendered an inaccurate replica of it; Perhaps because they only retained a general idea of what it looked like. Or because they had many candelabras in their booty and chose one of these others to depict in their sculpture.

Archeological evidence of the diagonal form of the menorah's 7 branches can be found here.


  1. hey there friend..always a joy to learn more bout the Bais Hamikdash and its origins. God bless.

  2. What WHT said. Keep up the re-educating. We forget, after so many thousands of years. :-)