The Star of David Symbol
The Star of David (✡), is not mentioned in the Scriptures and was never uniquely a Jewish symbol like the Menorah or the lion of Judah. The Star of David known in Hebrew as the Shield of David or Magen David, is a generally recognized symbol of modern Jewish identity and Judaism. The star of David symbol has the shape of a hexagram, the compound of two equilateral triangles.
The Origin of the Star of David
The earliest Jewish usage of the Star of David symbol was inherited from medieval Arabic literature by Kabbalists for use in talismanic protective amulets (segulot) where it was known as a Seal of Solomon.
In the 3 century, archaeological discoveries showed that a hexagram has been noted on a Jewish tombstone in Taranto, Apulia in Southern Italy. The Jews of Apulia were noted for their scholarship in Kabbalah, which has been tied to the use of the Star of David.
In the 11th century, the name ‘Shield of David’ was used as a title of the God of Israel, independent of the use of the symbol.
In the 12th century, the earliest known text related to Judaism which mentioned a sign called the “Shield of David” was Eshkol Ha-Kofer by the Karaite Judah Hadassi.
In 1354, King of Bohemia Charles IV arranged for the Jews of Prague a red flag with both David’s shield and Solomon’s seal, while the red flag with which the Jews met King Matthias of Hungary in the 15th century showed two pentagrams with two golden stars.
In the 17th century, we read of the connection between the term “Star of David” or “Shield of David” with the hexagram shape. The term “Shield of David” was also used in the Siddur (Jewish prayer book) as a title of the God of Israel.
In 1897, the star of David became representative of the worldwide Zionist community and the broader Jewish community after it was chosen as the central symbol on a flag at the First Zionist Congress.
In the 19th century and in an attempt to imitate the influence of the Christian cross, the Jewish communities in Eastern Europe started to use this symbol more frequently and it was also adopted by the Jewish communities in the Pale of Settlement.
In 1939, a Star of David was used by the Nazis during the Holocaust to identify the Jews. After the German invasion of Poland. And in the early 20th century, the symbol began to be used to reflect Jewish affiliations in sports.
And on October 28, 1948, the flag of Israel, depicting a blue Star of David on a white background, between two horizontal blue stripes was adopted, five months after the Israel’s establishment.
The Star of David and Religion
The star of David is a symbol of the Jewish religion in the same way the Christian cross identifies that religion. Many Modern Orthodox synagogues have the Israeli flag with the Star of David prominently displayed at the front of their synagogues near the Ark containing the Torah scrolls. Also, the symbol became representative of the worldwide Zionist community.
The Star of David since the 20th century is linked with the number seven and thus with the Menorah, and the six directions of space plus the center (Up, Down, East, West, South, North, and Center), or the Six Sefirot of the Male united with the Seventh Sefirot of the Female. Some say that one triangle represents the ruling tribe of Judah and the other the former ruling tribe of Benjamin. It is also seen as a dalet and yud, the two letters assigned to Judah.
In His service,