If you have followed the work of Curt Landry Ministries recently, you are likely aware of our Jerusalem Menorah project. This project involves the raising of a 10-foot tall handcrafted steel Magen
David menorah in the city of Jerusalem upon one of the highest hilltops in the city, Mt. Ora. The menorah is a symbol of hope and peace seen by hundreds of thousands of Israelis on a daily basis.
To those who may not be familiar with the history of the Jewish people, however, you may not realize the significance or history behind the menorah.
A menorah is an ancient type of lampstand with seven lamps (six branches), originally described in the bible as the golden lampstand Moses used in a portable sanctuary in the wilderness and, eventually, in the temple in Jerusalem. The menorah used fresh olive oil to light its lamps. Today, it is the emblem on Israel’s coat of arms.
The original menorah was made for the Tabernacle carried by Israelites until they crossed the Jordan river. Scripture makes no mention of the menorah during the time of the traveling of the Ark of the Covenant or in Solomon’s Temple, though there are references to lamps and “vessels” of illumination during the restoration of the Temple after the time of captivity in Babylon. There is no biblical record of what happened to the original menorah.
The menorah that was used in the second temple was brought to Rome, according to ancient records recorded by Josephus. It later found its home in the Temple of Peace in Rome. When the Vandals sacked Rome in 455 AD, they most likely looted the menorah and took it to Carthage. When the Byzantines invaded Carthage in 533, they may have taken it for themselves and brought it to the city of Constantinople. Some accounts say that it was carried through the streets during a procession of General Belisarius in honor of his triumph in Carthage. The same accounts indicate that it was eventually sent back to Jerusalem, but there is no record of the second menorah after that.
Today, the menorah is most closely associated with Hanukkah. It is also used in synagogues to light the area in front of the Ark, where the synagogue’s Torah scroll is kept. The Hanukkah menorah has 8 branches and 1 soldier candle honoring the 8 nights of Hanukkah.
The menorah has been a symbol of the light of God for millennia, and will continue to be so in Jerusalem through this project.