Has the Star of David always been a Jewish symbol?|
Absolutely not. In fact, the Star of David has only been associated with Judaism in the past two hundred years. Before that, it was chiefly associated with magic or with the insignia of individual families or communities. The Star of David is also known as the "Shield of David," as "Solomon's Seal" and a hexagram. Despite the questionable history of the Star of David Jewish people have long been attracted to this design and have tried to attach importance in retrospect to the symbol. Nowadays, the Star of David is probably the most popular and well-known Jewish symbol especially since it also represents the State of Israel.
What is the earliest known use of the Star of David?
The Star of David features in a seal in ancient Israel (6th century BCE), as well as eight centuries later in a synagogue frieze in Capernaum. These early appearances were probably only ornamental designs. Ironically, the swastika was also another popular ancient motif and it appears alongside the Star of David on the Capernaum synagogue wall. In the Middle Ages the Star of David appeared on churches but not on Jewish public buildings or Jewish ritual objects.
Did the Star of David feature in Kabbalah?
Early use of the Star of David was limited to practical Kabbalah, dating back to approximately the sixth century. According to the legends, the symbol was connected to the "Seal of Solomon," which was a magic signet ring used by King Solomon to control demons and spirits. The original ring was inscribed with the sacred four-letter name of G-d but medieval imitations of the ring substituted the name with the Star of David.
How is the Jewish Star of David connected to the Jewish Messiah?
The Star of David was regarded as a Messianic symbol due to its connection to King David who is an ancestor of the Messiah. In fact, on the Sabbath eve German Jews would light a star-shaped oil lamp to represent the idea that the Sabbath day was the foretaste of the Messianic Age.
How did the Jewish Star of David become associated with the modern State of Israel?
When Theodor Herzl looked for symbol that would represent the Zionist movement he chose the Star of David due to it being well-known and because it had no religious association. It eventually appeared in the Israeli flag and has become a sign of national redemption in our days.
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