The menorah is commonly associated with the Jewish community. The menorah is a seven branch Temple Lampstand. The classic design of the menorah and the hanukiah (a nine branch lampstand) is identical except for the number of branches extending from the central stem. As a result, the two are often confused.
The seven branch lampstand is the design that God specified for use in the Tabernacle and Temples. It was fashioned from one piece of solid gold and stood beside the south wall of the front room in the Tabernacle and Temple. Its function was to provide light for the room called The Holy Place. The central light was required to burn perpetually. As such, it is an important symbol in Rabbinic Judaism. The Talmud, Menachos 86b, states that the Temple Lampstand is a “testimony to all the inhabitants of the world that the Divine Presence rests within Israel.” The rabbi’s point is that it is “the source of Divine Light for the world at large” (www.moshiach.com/temple). The Temple Lampstand is also associated with joy and happiness. Finally, the Temple Lampstand is a symbol of the nation of Israel because Israel was chosen to be a light to the nations (Isaiah 42:6). That also makes it a fitting symbol of the modern State of Israel. The Temple Menorah appears as the major design element on the crest of the State of Israel (right).