Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Star of David

In keeping with my theme of investigating the symbolism of the Jewish faith, today I would like to share a little bit about the Star of David. First seen as a symbol in writing in a 12th century work, it has become associated with the Jewish people and their sanctuaries. The symbol only became heavily associated with Judaism when it was chosen as the emblem for the Zionist movement in 1897.

Symbolism of The Star of David

The Star of David (in Hebrew Magen David- literally ‘shield of David’) poetically refers to God. 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 of the hexagram providing the spiritual dimension. A six-pointed star receives form and substance from its solid center. This inner core represents the spiritual dimension, surrounded by the six universal directions.

This symbol helps remind us that despite our efforts to accomplish things in this world, just like God decided that King David would be successful in defeating armies much greater than his own, so too God will help us accomplish our goals. This is why the Jewish people say, “Blessed are you God, Shield of David” in the third blessing recited over the reading of the Prophets every Sabbath.

In another interpretation, 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 benefits to flow towards us. When worn as a Jewish Star necklace, it can remind us that we are walking with our creator on a daily basis.

Some note that the Star of David is a complicated interlocking figure which has not six (hexogram) but rather 12 (dodecogram) sides. One can consider it as composed of two overlapping triangles or as composed of six smaller triangles emerging from a central hexogram. Like the Jewish people, the star has 12 sides, representing the 12 tribes of Israel.

A more practical theory is that during the Bar Kochba rebellion (first century), a new technology was developed for shields using the inherent stability of the triangle. Behind the shield were two interlocking triangles, forming a hexagonal pattern of support points. Architect, Buckminster Fuller showed the strength of triangle-based designs with his geodesics. As Christians, we are to put on the whole armor of God - which includes the shield of faith. If applying the symbolism of the stability of the interlocking triangles, that futher emphasizes the importance of our faith!

I have a friend who is not of the Jewish faith (but like me, has been grafted in!) who wears a Star of David necklace. It's her daily reminder to pray for the peace of Israel.

I'm thinking that's not a bad idea either....


Amrita said...

Thanks for this interesting info Deb.

Pat said...

Me again.
I too have a star of David necklace, as does Hal.
Years ago I bought my Mom a tiny star of David from Tiffany's. It was the only thing I could afford there! I loved it so much I also bought one for myself.
I don't wear a necklace very often, but Hal always wears his.
You are doing a most amazing job of investigating, and each post brings my Mother and her deep love of Isreal back to my mind. Thank you.
What's next? The Menorah?

Safwan Alkhalaf said...

Thanks for this information