Jewish Star of David Meaning
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Origin of The Star of David
The Star of David, also know as the Magan David (Shield of David), has been a symbol associated with Judaism for centuries. A stone bearing the Star of David in a synagogue in the Galilee dates back to the 3rd century. It is believed to have been used as a decorative design.
A Star of David was used in the year 1108 in the Leningrad Codex, which is the oldest complete edition of the Hebrew Bible in existence. The term, Magan David, was used as early as the 11th century as a name for the God of Israel, where God is compared to a shield in the divine protection of King David.
A 12th century text, Eshkol ha-Kofer, a work on the Ten Commandments, refers to the Shield of David.
Coins found in the 13th century bear the Star of David.
The Star of David was used in a medieval Tanakh manuscript from 1307 in Spain.
A Siddur dated 1521 from Prague includes a large Star of David on the cover with the phrase, "...He will merit to bestow a bountiful gift on anyone who grasps the Shield of David."
The Star of David appears in the oldest complete copy of the Hebrew Bible, known as The Leningrad Codex, dated 1008
The Star of David and Zionism
The Star of David became officially associated with Judaism when it was chosen as the symbol to appear on the flag at the First Zionist Congress in 1897. At that time, it became the symbol of the Jewish people, Zionism, and the Jewish communities throughout the world.
David Wolffsohn designed the flag for the First Zionist movement, which became the flag for the State of Israel when it became a country in 1948. He wrote,
"At the behest of our leader Herzl, I came to Basle to make preparations for the Zionist Congress. Among many other problems that occupied me then was one that contained something of the essence of the Jewish problem. What flag would we hang in the Congress Hall? Then an idea struck me. We have a flag—and it is blue and white. The talith (prayer shawl) with which we wrap ourselves when we pray: that is our symbol. Let us take this Talith from its bag and unroll it before the eyes of Israel and the eyes of all nations. So I ordered a blue and white flag with the Shield of David painted upon it. That is how the national flag, that flew over Congress Hall, came into being."
The Jewish Star of David Meaning
This six sided figure symbolizes that God rules over the universe and protects us from all six directions: north, south, east, west, up, and down with the middle - the hexagram - providing the spiritual dimension.
The Star of David symbol helps remind us that despite our efforts to accomplish in this world, just like God decided that King David would be successful in defeating armies much greater then his own, so too will God help us accomplish our goals. This is why we say, “Blessed are you God, Shield of David” in the third blessing recited over the reading of the Prophets every Sabbath (read more about The Jewish Sabbath).
With the forming of the State of Israel in 1948, the flag of Israel was officially adopted. At that time, the Star of David became more than the symbol of the Jewish people, it became a symbol of the State of Israel.
The Holocaust and The Star of David
During the Holocaust, the Jews of Nazi-occupied Europe were ordered to wear a yellow Star of David, with the word, "Jude," - Jew, to identify the Jews. If a Jewish person was seen in public without the Jewish Star, severe punishment or death would occur. The wearing of a Jewish Star was also an act of defiance by those who were not Jewish, but who defied Hitler and his orders. When the Jews of Denmark were ordered by the Germans to stitch a yellow Star of David to their clothing or face severe punishment or death, the King of Denmark, who was not Jewish, declared that he would be the first Dane to wear that yellow star and would continue to do so until this threat to his people was removed.
The Star of David Meaning and Kabbalah
In Kabbalah, the two interlocking triangles represent the reciprocal relationship between man and God. Our good deeds are represented by the triangle pointing up to God and God reciprocates by allowing holiness and beneficence to flow towards us. When a Star of David is worn on jewelry, it helps us feel like we are walking with the protection of God and as a reminder of his presence. It also shows our love for the State of Israel.
The Star of David in Synagogues, Monuments, Architecture, Designs
The Star of David is a prominent symbol on most Jewish synagogues and can be seen in decorative arts, sculptures, monuments, and designs. In synagogues, a Star of David appears near the ark containing the scrolls
Star of David on the facade of a 17th century wooden synagogue, one of hundreds that were all over Europe since the 17th century.
Photo by Zeevveez
The Star of David original from the old Synagogue in Dresden which was destroyed in Krystalnacht.
Above the entrance to the synagogue.
Photo by Ben Unleashed
The Star of David in Jewelry
The most popular Jewish jewelry that is worn by Jews is the Star of David necklace. Designing jewelry with a Jewish star has inspired Judaic artists from around the world in their creation of jewelry, sculptures, and decorative art.
In addition to the religious significance of the Star of David, it means, "I stand with Israel." Jews and non-Jews alike wear it to show their support, love, and solidarity with the State of Israel.
Sarah Palin wearing a Star of David necklace
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