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Menorah ring

Judaica Jewelry: Rekindling a Powerful 2,000 Year Old Jewish Symbol of Light

Judaica jewelry - Ancient Menorah Ring
Ancient Menorah Ring

With its rich history, it’s no wonder that this ancient symbol of light is the inspiration for modern Judaica jewelry.

The use of a Menorah, or candelabra during the First Temple period in ancient Israel holds great historical and religious significance for Jews. The First Temple, also known as Solomon’s Temple, was constructed in Jerusalem in the 10th century BCE and stood as a central place of worship until its destruction by the Babylonians in 586 BCE. Within this sacred space, the Menorah symbolized light, spirituality, and the Divine Presence. As an overarching symbol of Divine Illumination the Menorah signified the light of God’s presence among the Israelites. 

Crafted from a single piece of pure gold, the Menorah featured seven branches, each adorned with cups, knobs, and flowers. There were six lights on either side of a higher sitting main torch. The seven branches were seen as representative of the perfection of God’s creation, and the light emanating from the Menorah symbolized the enlightenment that comes from following God’s commandments. The Menorah was placed in the Holy Place of the Tabernacle, providing light for the sacred space where the priests conducted various rituals.

The religious rituals involving the Menorah were an integral part of the temple’s daily routine. The lighting and maintenance of the Menorah were assigned to the priests, symbolizing their role as intermediaries between the people and the Divine. The Book of Leviticus outlines the specific instructions for kindling the Menorah, emphasizing the purity of the olive oil used for the lamps and the precise arrangement of the seven branches.

Unfortunately, the fate of the original Menorah, along with other sacred vessels, took a tragic turn with the destruction of Solomon’s Temple by the Babylonians in 586 BCE. The Menorah, among other treasures, was plundered and taken to Babylon. The loss of the temple and its sacred artifacts marked a pivotal moment in Jewish history, leading to the Babylonian exile. 

The subsequent rebuilding of the Second Temple saw the introduction of a new Menorah, but it was not an exact replica of the original. The fate of the original Menorah from Solomon’s Temple remains a historical mystery, with speculation about its whereabouts and the mysteries surrounding its eventual fate. What is certain though, is that the sacred ritual of lighting a menorah is still powerful even today.

This ring by Sami Zeira was inspired by an original artifact from the Second Temple Period that is displayed at the Tower of David Museum in Jerusalem. Over 2,000 years ago, a Jewish goldsmith created a ring with the image of the Temple menorah engraved on its face. It felt meaningful to Sami to create a replica – to revive this artifact rife with Jewish Heritage in the modern State of Israel. 

What’s also lasted until today, is the Jewish ritual of lighting the Menorah on the festival of Hanukkah. It is a time when the miracle of oil scarce enough for only one night, lasted for 8 nights. Every year at the winter solstice, Jews worldwide light the Menorah, bringing the light of this ancient miracle into the present. 

The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah symbolizes the possibility of miraculous events on Earth. Even when all hope seems to be lost, if we do our part, the supernatural can happen. The oil can last and the light can be cast. A little light goes a long way in a dark world. There is always hope.

At the current day tumultuous time for the Jewish People, Sami Zeira has created his Ancient Menorah Ring to commemorate the Jewish Tradition dating back to King Solomon of casting light onto the darkness – even when it seems all but impossible.  

  

Arch of Titus ancient Menorah
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