Jewish Symbols – Prominent Symbols in Jewish tradition
There are many motifs in Jewish tradition. Here we’ll introduce you to several prominent Jewish symbols in the Jewish religion and culture. Jewish symbols have grown out of the long history of the Jewish people. Jewish symbols have played big role in bonding the Jewish nation that has been scattered all around the world over the last two millenniums. The use of Jewish symbols has reaffirmed the collective identity of the Jewish people for many generations. The various ritual objects have enriched the cultural and social lives adding meaning to religious customs and the daily lives.
Jewish symbols – are they all religious?
So what are the most commonly known Jewish symbols and what do they stand for? In addition to holding religious significance, some Jewish symbols play a key role in Israel’s national identity. A great example is the Star of David, undoubtedly one of the most famous Jewish symbols. The bible tells us that David’s shield was in the shape of a star and was used to protect him in the battlefield.
Today, the Star of David is believed to protect the ones who wear it around their necks, the main reason why this famous symbol is featured in so many jewelry and accessories such as pendants and earrings. Since the Star of David decorates the national flag of the state of Israel, today it is understood that the Star of David has transcended its religious connotation and now symbolizes the deep connection between Israel and the Israeli people.
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The Western Wall is definitely among the most commonly known Jewish symbols and contributes to the Israeli national identity. The Western Wall, also known as the Wailing Wall or the Kotel, is one of most significant religious site for the Jewish people today.
King Solomon built the first temple in Jerusalem more than 2,000 years ago. A few hundred years later, this sacred temple was destroyed by the Babylonians leaving only the western wall intact. Miraculously, the western wall has survived the destruction of the second temple as well. Since then, the Western Wall has become a symbol for divine protection and hope of the Jewish people to return to the land of Israel. In 1967, the Western Wall was liberated by the Israeli Defense Forces.
Among other Jewish symbols are religious objects used in the Jewish daily rituals. In the Jewish tradition, it is an important Mitzvah (commandment) inscribed in the Bible to affix a Mezuzah scroll to every door post in the Jewish home. Most of the Jews throughout the world, both religious and secular, follow this commandment. A Mezuzah case makes every Jewish home easy to recognize.
Other types of Jewish symbols include ritual objects used during the holidays such as the Hanukkah menorah. The Hanukkah menorah is lit on each of the eight days of Hanukkah as a way to commemorate the victory of the small Jewish army over the Greek empire that ruled the land of Israel and tried to force the Jews to abandon their faith two thousands years ago. The menorah has been a symbol of victory and freedom ever since. The menorah is also the symbol of the state of Israel.