Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Symbol of the Six days of Creation

The following paragraph is from Dr. Asher Eder’s book The Star of David, which was published in 1987 in English in Jerusalem by Rubin Mass Ltd. The publication here is courtesy of Oren Mass
This chapter deals with the meaning of the triangles that constitute the Star of David. Photo is courtesy of "bibbjian" who published it on Flickr
I edited the photo in order to emphasize the Star of David which hides in the original, where six Roman emperors representing the days of the week surround Saturn who represents Saturday

Nature abounds with triads, as in sun, planets and moon; or in atoms, as protons, neutrons and electrons, or their three properties (mass, charge and spin) or states (solid, liquid and gas). The four elements - earth, air, fire and water - also ought to be mentioned here, insofar as fire is not in fact an element like the three others, but a process of energy exchange.
Within this context, it is worth noting that the Earth itself is endowed with the power to evolve, as we learn from its history, and as expressed in the Tanakh, or Hebrew Bible. There, the first two days of Genesis only the Creator is acting while everything created so far remained in its original primitive state, notwithstanding the built in possibilities of development. This state changed -certainly not accidental- at the third day when the Creator commissioned the earth to bring forth vegetation and fruit trees. Regarding the kingdom of plants, we read: "And God said: Let the earth bring forth vegetation...and the fruit tree..."; and with regard to the maritime kingdom: "Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creatures that have life"; and referring to the animal kingdom: "Let the earth bring forth the living creatures after its kind...". This marks the beginning of a however limited independence of created things. In man who was created on the sixth day (2 x 3!), this independence climaxed in the free will he can exercise to some degree.
When seeing the first three days of creation as symbolized by one triangle, and the second three days (days 4,5,6) by another triangle, their unity can be demonstrated by their harmonious joining in a hexagram. We recognize right away that its center, the hexagon as a consequential outcome of that creation symbolizes well the 7th day, the Shabbat. Indeed, Shabbat was not created: it is embedded in creation, marking its completion. We humans as being created on the 6th day are given into the laws of created nature. We are not “given into” the Shabbat, the 7th day; rather Shabbat is given to us: it is part of our human freedom to observe it, and “make it” (Exod. 31:16) into a part of our Divine freedom
This commission to evolve and develop is summed up in the words: "...[God] rested from all his work which "G o d c r e a t e d [i n o r d e r] t o d o ".
For the sake of clarity, let us reflect briefly on this well-known yet hardly understood phrase. It expresses so-to-speak two sides of one and the same coin. After the six days, or periodes, of creative work, God -speaking in human terms- rested from that work, looked at it, and found it "very good": the chaotic forces were given direction for a harmonious interplay; sun and moon were set for days, years, and seasons; the earth was commissioned to bring forth plants and living creatures; and man was created in his Maker's image. All this was created i n o r d e r t o d o , i.e. it was now upon man to subdue the earth and have dominion over it i n t h e i m a g e of the Creator, and live up to His likeness in accordance with the original plan, or blueprint, as outlined in Gen. 1:26 which says:
"Let us make Adam [=man] in our image as our likeness".
In this man-making process which goes on under the dictum "which he created to d o, God rested after all his work so that Man will complete it by his deeds. Right away after the above statement that God rested from all his work which he created so far, we read that He "breathed the breath of life" - the neshamah - into Adam's nostril s, providing thus the spiritual equipment for his task to "cultivate the Garden". Then He "planted a garden eastward in Eden"; formed Eve from his rib; rebuked Cain; saved Noah from the Flood; called forth Abram/Abraham; punished Egypt and took Israel out from there; gave the Decalogue; and on Moses’ request to “create” something new, did the earth open its mouth and swallowed Korah and his followers); etc.
All this occurred upon the earth which is, according to the Tanakh, as one of God's creations a dynamic power field subject to the eternal laws of the Creator.

Capernaum Convoluted Star of David

This picture was taken by Dr. Asher Eder about 40 years ago. He found out that it resembles another Star of David he saw in the ruins of an Herodian building in Beth-El, north of Ramallah. I heard from my teacher, Dr. Ze'ev Goldmann, who is an expert on religious symbols, that this is not a Star of David. It is an ancient Jewish symbol called tri-loop.

See an extensive article about
the Stars of David in Capernaum

Beith El - Defaced Star of David

This photo was taken by Dr. Asher Eder about 40 years ago in the ruins of an Herodian building in Beth-El, north of Ramallah. There, it had a curvilinear shape. When Dr. Eder wanted, a few years latter, to take a better photo he found out that the Star of David was defaced. Any how I heard from my teacher, Dr. Ze'ev Goldmann, who is an expert on religious symbols, that this is not a Star of David. It is an ancient Jewish symbol called tri-loop.

The following paragraph is from Dr. Asher Eder’s book The Star of David, which was published in 1987 in English in Jerusalem by Rubin Mass Ltd. The publication here is courtesy of Oren Mass
From the First Century B.C.E. on, we find [the hexagram] in the Land of Israel on many archeological sites.
Dating back to the second or third decade B.C.E., it could have be seen engraved on the ruins of an Herodian building in Beth-El, north of Ramallah. There, it had a curvilinear shape, similar to that of another star found in the ruins of a second-century C.E. synagogue in Kfar Nahum (Capernaum): The Beth-El hexagram was recently defaced.
In the ruins of Kfar Nahum, we can still see another example of the star, one designed with straight lines, composed of two equilateral, symmetrically interwoven triangles.

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Circle and the Star of David

Circle and the Star of David
The following paragraph is from Dr. Asher Eder’s book The Star of David, which was published in 1987 in English in Jerusalem by Rubin Mass Ltd. The publication here is courtesy of Oren Mass
This is not an arbitrary exercise. It is indeed geometry which gives us a clue to this understanding. When we draw a circle and apply its radius to its circumference, we will find out that it fits exactly six times into it. Connecting the six centers of theirs, we get either a hexagon, or a hexagram.

As known, it is impossible to exactly square the circle (notwithstanding the value of pi = 3,14 which suffices in our daily needs to bring us near to this equation). In contrast, the above figures show the only possible direct relation between a circular and a cornered area. That means to say that the triangle as the most basic geometric unit with distinct corners can evolve directly from the circle which may represent infinity and harmony.

Creator -Creation

Creator -Creation Magen David

The following paragraph is from Dr. Asher Eder’s book The Star of David, which was published in 1987 in English in Jerusalem by Rubin Mass Ltd. The publication here is courtesy of Oren Mass.
Let us consider the six-pointed star as consisting of two equilateral triangles. The triangle is the simplest conceivable plane figure with distinct points. While in mysticism the number four and the square represent the created world, the number three and the triangle represent the various possibilities resulting from the division of the One into two. The One Creator brought about these possibilities by the very act of Creation.
If, for the sake of argument, we depict the Creator and the Creation each by a dot, then the line connecting these dots denotes the relationship between them, the relationship between "above" and "below":

Indeed, the creative power is purposefully directed, and manifests itself in forms. As life needs form in order to express itself, so does the primordial creative power (,אל el) act, and appear, as Creator (elohim) in Creation. Creation is not an act which was performed only once in the distant past, but is rather a continuous and perpetual process - "God renews the work of Creation every day", say our sages. Interestingly enough, the Hebrew word for Creation, briah, conveys this idea. Its end character (heh), as in any other words written with it, indicates an inclination or movement towards something. And modern scientists admit:"... the stability of matter is a pure miracle when considered from the standpoint of classical physics." It is this constant renewal which sustains life and causes the appearance of new forms, adding a horizontal, "expanding" aspect to Creation. When we become aware that a continuous act of Creation brings into being new entities which continually evolve, we can visualize the number three emerging from the line connecting dots One and Two.
Since these continual changes occur only within the framework of laws established for the world, we, being subject to these laws, cannot draw the third dot as an extension of the line connecting dot One to dot Two. Rather, by setting it beside these dots, we form a triangle in which each point represents an aspect as it relates to two other aspects of a certain force. We draw the triangle with both sides of equal length in order to express the harmony between these different aspects...
In our context, the triangle may be seen as the symbol of a power field, while two triangles, as in a hexagram, represent two related power fields. The two primordial power fields would, then, be the creative force of the creator symbolized by one of the two triangles, while the creation and the forces invested in it would be marked by the second triangle. The interlacing of the triangles, then, indicates that Creator and creation cannot be separated; one can't be without the other. They are a unit: One.

The Kabbalistic "Tree of Life"

The following paragraph is from Dr. Asher Eder’s book The Star of David, which was published in 1987 in English in Jerusalem by Rubin Mass Ltd. The publication here is courtesy of Oren Mass
The harmonious balance of a relationship as indicated by the Star of David is possible only if the two partners are balanced in themselves. Contrary to widespread view, harmony is not achieved by merely coming together and joining.
When we examine the two triangles of the star, we may visualize a central point for each of them. If the centers are not congruent, the star would be distorted, off kilter.
What is the central point? Could such a point in an individual ever be congruent with that of another person?
Human beings are so different from each other that, among the billions who inhabit the globe, no two people are endowed with exactly the same faces, fingerprints, or voices. Everyone has a personality of his own, so much so that the sages say: "Whoever saves a human life has saved a whole world; and whoever destroys a human life has destroyed a whole world."
Yet, behind these countless outward forms is something higher. In fact, the "higher" we go the more closely we approach this unifying point which, in modern terms, is sometimes called the Higher Self; or archetype of man. The Torah, much more to the point, speaks of it as the Adam Kadmon, the human being created in God's image. Following the Torah, we may see the Higher Self as a sephirah open to Man below and to the influx from above. It can be compared to a center which maintains the balance between our earthly nature and the Divine, as well as between our right and left, and all that is symbolized by these terms. As descendants of Adam, we all share in it. It enables us to know ourselves, to know and love one another, and to realize our common humanity.
The Jewish Kabbalah expresses these principles in a diagram known as the Tree of Life.

It shows the "absolute" polarity of Crown (keter, creative power) and Kingdom ( malkuth, material world) as well as the relative polarities in its right and left pillars (force-form; positive-negative; male-female; give-receive). These polarities are brought about and governed by the sephirah Crown.
The ten sephirot of the Tree of Life are connected by lines ("paths") which form different triangles (power fields), each with its own significance and falling between Crown and Kingdom.
This indicates that:
a) All comes from the One, divides into the Two and multiples, and then reunites into One;
b) The Tree is harmonious and balanced if and when all the triangles showing its different functions are in their proper place and shape;
c) The whole essence of Judaism is included in the names Crown for the uppermost and Kingdom for the lowest sephirah. The name Kingdom, if applied to the mineral, vegetable and animal worlds, implies that the material world is not separate from God, but is rather his "footstool". When applied to Man's world, the name Kingdom prompts us to acknowledge His sovereignty over all Creation, and to be aware that the world has been entrusted to our care, that we may raise it to the level of the Divine and have dominion over it, in the image of the Creator. By doing so, we indeed put the Crown upon Him to whom it belongs, and make the Earth His Kingdom. This is exemplified by King David, who is the corresponding figure of the sephirah malkuth (Kingdom).
Man, although formed from the dust of the earth, is modeled in the image of the Creator. This is indicated by the lower rhomb of the Tree, shaped exactly like the upper rhomb (the partzuf, or face).
Part of the lower rhomb - the triangle of Kingdom-Endurance-Reverberation - marks the state into which we are born (ego incarnate). As man is not intended to remain in this state, he naturally follows his inborn inclination to "go higher", to grow professionally, intellectually and spiritually, aspiring towards ever-loftier goals. But ultimately, all of us must realize that this subjective urge "to go higher" is actually rooted in our inherent longing for objective and Absolute Truth which is always above us, symbolized in our graph by Crown. Crown "calls" us constantly through what we sense as our innermost voice. It calls for our teshuvah, this Hebrew word meaning both answer and repentance. It asks us God's eternal question to Adam - "Where are you?" - and calls us to go beyond the barriers marked by Endurance-Reverberation and unite in Splendor with the Divine, marked by Crown.
This process is often described as a spiritual rebirth which, while leaving all the functions symbolized by the lower rhomb intact, provides new vistas and opens us to Divine guidance. The sephirah Splendor, besides its intrinsic value, forms the hinge to the upper rhomb. In this way, we can say in the words of Ps. 25:1: "To Thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul".
However, in Jewish teaching, it is not enough to "go higher" in feelings alone. Going higher merely in accordance with our own ideas and ideals may in the beginning produce fine effects but in the end would result in the Confusion of Babel. Our progress must be reflected by actions in accordance with Divine Instruction from on high, from Mount Sinai. Indeed, the Torah tells us right in the beginning that God "rested from all his work which he created to do." (See note 8 of Chapter 3.) In this context, we may appreciate that the Kingdom of God; Shabbath; holiness; etc., were not created, and hence not imposed on our nature; we rather must stride towards them, and thus "make (=do)" them. The Torah stresses this repeatedly. For instance, concerning the Shabbath, we read that "the Children of Israel shall keep the Shabbath [in order] to make the Shabbath throughout the generations."
All our doings and makings, whether "sacred" or "profane", occur in the sephirah Kingdom of our Kabbalistic Tree of Life. By doing what we are commanded to do, we come to understand their intrinsic value and beauty. "We will do, and we will hear"; and "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."
Thus, it is the awe and love of the Lord, expressed in our doings, which begins to open our hearts to the Divine Understanding and Wisdom as represented in our Tree by these two respective upper sephirot.
These two sephirot do not stand independently; they are inseparably linked to the sephirah Crown (keter), shown in our graph not only by the upper triangle formed by these three sephirot but also by the Hebrew character י , yod, which comes forth from the ein soph, the Infinite, and stretches, via the sephirah Crown, into the sephirah Wisdom. This forges the upper triad into an indissoluble unit, which in turn gives harmonious form and balance to the whole Tree and what it represents.
Judaism, with Kabbalah as its mystic foundation, is indeed characterized by a constant flow of energy between keter (Crown) and malkuth (Kingdom), the former marking also mathan torah, the continuous Giving of the Torah, to be received by every generation anew in. The triad of Wisdom-Understanding-Splendor marks God's spirit in Man, while the path connecting Crown and Kingdom marks God's presence and Will everywhere, even if "behind the scenes".
Thus, this diagram, rightly called the Tree of Life, mirrors the perfect and balanced stature of the archetypal adam kadmon. We, the descendants of adam rishon, the First Man, are meant to grow towards this stature as individuals and as a species. Our lives here on Earth should reflect this heavenly blueprint, just as the lower rhomb of Splendor-Victory-Majesty-Kingdom reflects the upper rhomb of Crown-Wisdom-Understanding-Splendor.
This process of growth occurs within the field marked by the sephirot Greatness-Might-Victory-Majesty. The center, or hinge, is the sephirah Splendor, or Higher Self, while Knowledge reflects the functioning of the ten sephirot. Yet, all this finds its expression in malkuth, Kingdom.
We will see later that the Star of David expresses these ideas in a simpler but no less impressive way.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Great American Seal

The Great American Seal hexagramThe following paragraph is from Dr. Asher Eder’s book The Star of David, which was published in 1987 in English in Jerusalem by Rubin Mass Ltd. The publication here is courtesy of Oren Mass
In the culture of India, where it must have been known since ancient times, the six-pointed star still plays a role. It is found there in Hindu temples and shrines, and also on the flag of Indian ships, while in Nepal it is embroidered on the front of the king's headgear.
There, it is considered a symbol of harmony between spirit and matter. In Yoga schools, this idea is well expressed by graphic representations of the human chakras7 with the star marking the heart chakra as the central and connecting link between the three lower "carnal" chakras and the three upper "spiritual" chakras. While the lower and upper chakras are all represented by Sanskrit letters, it is noteworthy that only the heart chakra is depicted by an abstract sign, the six-pointed star.
In the tantric teaching, the star serves as a symbol for relationship between man and wife.
Some Indian tribes of North America have used it "since ancient times as a symbol expressing the wisdom of 'as it is above, so it is below', as well as the union of spirit and matter, heaven and earth."8
While each state of the United States of America is represented by a pentagram in their "Stars-and-Stripes" flag, their Great Seal incorporates a six-pointed star; or, to be more precise, a hexagram-like arrangement of the thirteen pentagrams which represent the 13 founding states of the USA.

Framing Shop

A strange Star of David on the sign of a Jerusalem framing shop: in its middle instead of the known hexagon we see the shape of a diamond. Inside the shop there are more Stars of David on the small Israeli flags.

Butterfly Wings

This Star of David is made from butterfly wings. When one moves it he can see different colors from every new angel.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Marble Church

Picture is courtesy of "clspeace' who published it on Flickr and wrote to me: 

Star of David located on the steeple of the Marble Church, which is in Bodelwyddan (North Wales, UK).


Kathmandu Hexagram Picture is courtesy of "Manogamo" who published it on Flickr and wrote in the caption

The David's star meaning in Nepal is wisdom
People who visited Kathmandu told me about this phenomenon but it's totally different to see a picture. You might say it saved me a trip...

lotus in a hexagram 
made from powder 
Kathmandu Nepal
CC Picture by wonderlane from Flickr

Friday, October 27, 2006

Shame and Honor

I Translated the following paragraph from Dr. Asher Eder’s book The Star of David. Rubin Mass Ltd. published it in 1987 in English in Jerusalem. The translation is courtesy of Oren Mass.
But ultimately, the sign which the enemies of the Jews intended as a sign of shame was adopted in 1948 by the reborn Jewish State as a sign of honor, and made part of its official flag.
As Professor Gershom Scholem said: 
The sign which in our days has been sanctified by suffering and dread has become worthy of illuminating the path of life and reconstruction. Before ascending, the path led down into the abyss; there the symbol received its ultimate humiliation, and there it won its greatness.

In this context, it should be mentioned that the same desire to convert intended shame into honor led to the adoption of the name "Israel" for the reborn state. Nazi Germany added the name Israel to the passports and identity cards of all Jews (Sarah in case of females) to brand them. The Jewish state, on the other hand, honored this ancient Biblical term and adopted it as its name.
There is a striking parallel in the Biblical story of Jacob wrestling with the angel of his hostile brother Esau, and of being named Israel just before his return to his homeland, where he adopted this name as his own.
Thus, since 1948, Judaism, Israel and the Star of David have been linked. Moreover, the Star is not only the flag symbol of the state of Israel, it has become the sign with which Jewish communities can identify, whether orthodox or liberal, in Israel or abroad, in the free world or in countries where Jews, and often other minorities, cannot express their identity openly.
But it took the blood of six million victims of the Shoah crying to heaven before most nations were willing to concede independence to Israel, and honor this symbol.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Star of Jerusalem

Star of David JerusalemPhoto is courtesy of Mira Dror, curator of the Tax Museum in Jerusalem, Israel.

The following paragraph is from Dr. Asher Eder’s book The Star of David, which was published in 1987 in English in Jerusalem by Rubin Mass Ltd. The publication here is courtesy of Oren Mass

In ancient times, most of the designs on ornaments and seals showed animals or flower motifs, or simple geometric lines such as strokes, circles and squares. True, some show six-petalled flowers or rosettes, as on this Egyptian seal from the third millennium B.C.E.:
fig.1 Egyptian seal [not shown here]

But since similar designs with any number of petals – ranging from 5 to12 – were in use throughout the millenniums, we cannot say that those which showed six petals imply a connection with the hexagram, a figure composed of two intersecting equilateral triangles.
While archaeological finds showing the above motif abound, astoundingly few show pentagrams or hexagrams. This may indicate that the few artists who designed or used them had developed abstract, perhaps mathematical or geometrical concepts far beyond the scopes of simple hunting or farming societies. These artists probably belonged to circles inaugurated into the higher, or priestly, wisdom of their cultures.
While the pentagram can be seen as an abstract depiction of Man's stature, with his head above legs and arms, the design of the hexagram suggests an awareness of polarities as one of the characteristics of our world, and perhaps even of the Creator.
A lack of archaeological findings is, of course, no proof that things did not exist. Yet it is remarkable that the oldest known pentagram dates back to the third millennium B.C.E. (for more details, see chapter 27), while artifacts with hexagrams appear much later. A shard of pottery with a design resembling part of a hexagram, found in Gezer by Macalister, dates from the second half of the second millenium B.C.E.:
fig.2 Gezer by Macalister [not shown here]

However, it is doubtful whether this drawing actually depicts a hexagram, as sometimes suggested; for the angles of this figure are each of a different degree. This fact rather indicates a decorative zig-zag line around a circle, with probably seven points.
the oldest undisputed example [of a hexagram] is on a seal from the seventh century B.C.E. found in Sidon and belonging to one Joshua ben Asayahu", as Prof. Scholem points out in his standard work Kabbalah. The name Joshua ben Asayahu, being a typical Hebrew name, links it to the Jewish culture.
Then, E.R. Goodenough claims, in his monumental work on “Jewish symbols of the Greco-Roman Period” (vol. 1, p.68), that he found a hexagram on the lintel of a Jewish tomb near Beth Guvrin, from the Hellenistic, pre-Maccabean period.
Quite convincing is then the artifact from Ramat-Rahel near Jerusalem. It is from the fourth century B.C.E., the end of the Persian or the beginning of the Greek period in Israel, and clearly shows a hexagram, with ancient Hebrew characters in lower corners reading YHD (yahad). They stand for Yehudah - Judea in English:
Another artifact found in Israel is a jar handle impressed with a hexagram, probably used as a royal seal. It dates back to the second century B.C.E., that is, the Maccabean period. It is also on display in the Israel Tax Museum, Jerusalem.

Dr. Asher Eder’s Book: The Star of David

This is the cover page of Dr. Asher Eder’s book The Star of David.
Rubin Mass Ltd. published it in 1987 in English in Jerusalem.
Picture is courtesy of Oren Mass who was kind enough to let me translate the book into Hebrew and to publish it on my Hebrew blog
He also let me publish the English version on my English Blog
and to publish the illustrations on Flickr.

Dr. Asher Eder told me why he wrote this book:
Before the book had been published I was guiding tourist groups that came from Germany to Israel. I used to take them to Capernaum. There, in the digs, lie, side by side, two lintel stones: one with a six pointed star and the other with a five pointed star. Each time I was asked what is the difference between these two emblems and what does each of them mean. I got bored repeating myself time and time again so I decided to print ONE page that answers this question and to distribute it to my clients. This one page became a book, which was published first in German and later in English.
The six-pointed star is an ancient symbol. In antiquity it was known to various peoples in different parts of the world, and is still used by some of them. More recently it became known as the symbol of the Jewish people, and was chosen to adorn the flag of the Jewish State.
Now-a-days, the six-pointed star is usually spoken of as the Star of David, although f literally translated, its Hebrew term Magen David would be the Shield of David.ן
In geometry, the sign is referred to as a hexagram (lit. six sign) - a figure formed by two intersecting equilateral triangles. Startling enough, its meaning goes far beyond that of our geometricall sign. In nature, its design can be found even in such basic elements as hydrogen, and in water in its crystallized form.
Based on archeological artifacts, this book first traces the history of the hexagram. Then the esoteric meaning of its component triangles, as well as that of their harmonious interlacing, is developed and applied to different situations in our daily lives. Going one step further, we will see how the application of our symbol to modern problems can help us analyze, understand, and eventually, solve them. This, in line with the findings of Carl Jung and modern psychology after him how we can speak through symbols and how they “speak” to our sub-consciousness
Many questions may arise: Is there significance to the fact that the triangles are equilateral? What does the intersection, or integration, of these triangles tell us? What does this sign stand for, and how does its message compare to that of other symbols such as a square or a pentagram? Why, and how, did it become a symbol of the Jewish people? Why is it related to King David, and not to Abraham, Solomon, Mohammed, or some other personality? What does the term "Shield of David" imply?

Although the star is an eminently suitable symbol of Jewish culture, we will see that this does not diminish its universal significance. On the contrary, the sign which
apparently emerged from the nations of the world can become a symbol of hope for human integrity on all levels, and be cherished as a symbol of Mankind itself.
The book also deals briefly with the pentagram - a sign often confused with the
Star of David, and compares the meanings of these two signs.
Two chapters toward the end of the book probe into the question whether our symbol was known already in the First Temple; and perhaps even to Moses, that is, pre-dating King David after whom it is named now-a-days?
Finally, the last chapter examines with the help of the hexagram the age-old quest for man within the time-space correlation.
The extended notes section may be of help to those readers who wish to explore the roots of the thoughts developed in the following pages.
Readers of different cultural backgrounds may find themselves confronted with views and notions unfamiliar to them. It is my hope that this book may stimulate thoughts which transcend cultural barriers, and contribute to the wider understanding on which coexistence and peace depend.
Asher Eder



1. A Brief History
From ancient artifacts and what they can tell us about origin and use of the
hexagram in different cultures and periods to the process in which it became a Jewish symbol, down to our times with the Nazi’s “Jewish Star” and its adoption by the State of Israel as its symbol.
2. The Six-pointed Star in Other Cultures p. 24
From ancient East India via Roman and Moslem cultures to America’s Red Indians.
3. The Meaning of Triangles p. 28
The triangle as basic mathematical, physical, and spiritual element
4. Fate-Destiny-Will p. 36
About this decisive triad in human life
5. Polarities p. 37
Some words about polarities in our dualistic world
6. Male and Female p. 39
The symmetrical hexagram composed of two equal triangles may symbolize the
harmonious relation between man and wife.
7. The Kabbalistic "Tree of Life" p. 43
A brief look into the meaning of this well-known kabbalistic graph reveals that it
shows in its way what the hexagram symbolizes
8. Law and Grace p. 49
These two fundamental concepts of any well functioning society reflected in our
9. Spirit and Matter p. 59
Are they contrasting, or complementing? Our graph points to the latter
10. Good and Evil p. 62
Are they polarities? Where does evil come from?
11. Love of Neighbour p. 63
A basic concept in Western cultures – often misunderstood and misinterpreted but
here explained with the help of the hexagram
12. Language and Revelation p. 69
Without language – no revelation; and without revelation – no language (the
term language not to be confused with mere communication!). Illustrated with the
help of the hexagram
13. Abba -- Father 73 (chapters 13-17 relate some basic concepts of
14. The Sign Aleph 76 Hebrew thought – condensed in these first four signs
15. The Sign Beth 77 (letters) of its alphabet – as a preliminary step for
16. The Sign Gimel 78 understanding the following chapters of Israel and
17. The Sign Daleth 79 its King David after whom our symbol is named)
18. The Formation of Israel p. 80
How and why Israel came into existence
19. Israel and the Nations p. 85
Are they antipodes – or complementary like the two triangles of our graph?
20. Jerusalem/Zion p. 89
About the meaning of these concepts
21. Magen David, the Shield of David p. 93
Some reasons why our symbol, the hexagram, is attributed to King David, and is
named after him
22. Jerusalem: Mother of All p. 97
“The Law shall go forth from Zion, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem” – to
revive mankind in His Spirit as the pre-condition for compatibility and peace
23. Enmity or Peace p. 102
Jerusalem – a “bone of contention”; or the source of peace. Our symbol, if seen as composed of three rhombs, shows graphically how the three main descendants of
Abraham and their offspring could and should complement –instead of fighting-
each other.
24. The Seven Laws of the Sons of Noah, Now & Then p. 113
They are today as valid for any well-functioning society as they were when Noah
laid them down
25. The United Nations p. 116
How do the United Nations face Jerusalem – 3000 years after its foundation as
Zion by King David; and roughly 4000 years after the formation of Israel?
26. Songs of Peace and Joy p. 118
Quotations from Psalms envisioning that state hoped for.


27. The Pentagram in History and Today p. 120
This sign, often confused with the “Star of David”, is named the “Seal of Solomon”
after that wise king who actually built the Temple in Jerusalem. What does that tell
us in comparison to the hexagram?
28. The Five-pointed Star in Islam p. 124
Tracing its origin and meaning in Islam. Are hexagram and pentagram symbols of
opposing or of compatible cultures?
29. Turning Towards the Six-pointed Star: Religion and the Sciences 127
About religion(s) and science(s) as opposing or complementing forces
30. Avodah and Melakhah (Service and Labor) p. 131
Do religious (spiritual) service and mundane business exclude one another – or
can and should they join like the two triangles of our symbol?
31. The Joining of the Triangles p. 137

32. Harmony of the Triangles p. 139
Only the harmonious joining of the triangles as symbols for two power fields will
result in peace and well being
33. The Sign of Man p. 143
A speculation: Was the hexagram known already to Adam, the father of mankind?
And will it become the guiding star for mankind, his children?

34. Pyramid and Hexagram p. 145
The hexagram as a constructive element in designing the pyramid, and thus most
likely known to the learned Israelites in ancient Egypt
35.Pomegranates in the Temple Service p. 149
Why was Moses commanded to fix pomegranates to the hem of the High Priest; and
what can they tell us in view of our symbol?
An in-depth investigation into this conundrum, illustrated by the hexagram

V. NOTES …………… p. 187
Numerous notes bring details and explanations for those readers who want to trace
sources, and who want to delve deeper into our fascinating subject
VI. GLOSSARY ………….. p. 221 VII. Addenda……………………………..………p. xxx
A) Christian-Jewish Relations according to the
PARABLE OF THE OLIVE TREE (Epistle to the Romans, chpt.11)

I wish to thank all my teachers, Jews and non-Jews alike, whether alive on this earth or immortal in their teachings.
I also want to thank my wife Hannah for encouraging me and giving me the space to write this book.
I owe thanks as well to all those who were helpful in shaping it.

Acknowledgements to the institutions and private persons by whose courtesy the following pictures could be reproduced:

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (figs. 1, 5, 74, 78);
British Museum, London (fig. 73);
Central Zionist Archives, Jerusalem (figs. 19, 20, 21a&b);
Israel Museum, Jerusalem (figs. 25a, 94a&b);
Israel Tax Museum, Jerusalem (fig.3);
L.A. Meyer Institute for Islamic Arts, Jerusalem (fig.25a);
The Syndics of Cambridge University Library, No CUL MsTS K5 (fig. 10)
(A copy of this artifact is on display in the Diaspora Museum, Tel Aviv)
Praehistorische Staatssammlung, Munich (fig.4).
Prague Museum (fig. 15)
Dr. Ed Metzlerr, Herborn/Germany (fig. 93)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Bahai House of Worship

A cross, a hexagram and a swastika in the Bahai house of worship in Wilmette, Illinois.
Bahá'í architecture goals are to unify people of many different religions.
Picture is courtesy of "swth" from Flickr 

Zisa castle, Palermo

There are three different designs of hexagrams in this Mosaic wall inlay in Zisa castle, Palermo, Sicily : big one with a dot in the center of the hexagon, small one with a hexagon inside, small one with a big circle inside. There are four halves of hexagrams on the fringes

Picture is courtesy of "woodcreeper" who published it on Flickr.

Palermo, Italy

12 hexagrams on each circle. It took some time until I noticed them because they are so dim and hiding behind the golden stars above them that drew all my attention... Palermo, Italy, Palazzo dei Normanni - Capella Palatina
Picture is courtesy of foonus who published it on Flickr

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Orvietto Cathedral

Orvietto Cathedral hexagramIn the middle of this splendid column there's a raw of interlaced hexagrams.
It is standing in Orvietto Cathedral, an ancient town in Umbria, Italy.
Infobitch commented under this photo in Flickr in Hebrew that he wants such a column in his guest room. Photo is courtesy of "hassi" from Flickr.

Valencia Cathedral Facade

I already published this magnificent hexagram as it is seen from the church outwards. I thought it's a good idea to show it also from the facade, which is not less magnificent...

The following paragraph is from Dr. Asher Eder’s book The Star of David, which was published in 1987 in English in Jerusalem by Rubin Mass Ltd. The publication here is courtesy of Oren Mass
In Christian culture, evidence of the Star of David can be found in some Byzantine churches as carvings and as wooden seals.1 It was also used as a design element in mosaic floors such as that found in a chapel excavated near Mishor Adumim in the Judean desert; or as that in Kafr Makr (Western Galilee); or as carvings; now on display at the Israel Museum:
Byzantine churches in other countries showed it, too (one in Paphos, Cyprus, embeds two hexagrams among other designs on its mosaic floor).
In Europe many medieval cathedrals and churches display the star: notably those in Burgos and Valencia Spain; Florence Anagni Aquileia and Orvieto Italy; and Brandenburg Stendal and Hannover Germany.
There is also the famous Perpignon Bible of 1249 which is decorated with a beautiful hexagram.
In the secular world the kings of Navarra used the star on their seals in the 10th and 11th centuries as did other officials and notaries.
Ironically modern Portuguese policemen wear it on their headgear, several centuries after the Jews of that country were branded by it.
An Italian newspaper of 1622 A Coranto had a hexagram as its imprint.
However in the course of time Christians came to prefer the five-pointed star (see Chapter 27)acknowledging the six-pointed version as a Jewish symbol.

Valencia Cathedral

A marvelous black hexagram on a stained glass window.
Picture is courtesy of "Molas" who published it on Flickr

Monday, October 23, 2006

Zodiac in a Hexagram

Zodiac in a Hexagram
It is hard to see the hexagram that frames this zodiac floor, because the camera is too close to the mosaics, but you can see it better here.

In the middle of the picture there are seven Roman emperors who represent the seven days of the week or the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. Around them the animals sacred to them: wolf, eagle, dove, horse, bull and goat. Around them the signs of the Zodiac.
This well preserved zodiac floor from the third century C.E.is now in the Bardo Museum in Tunis, but it was discovered in Bir-Chana near Zaghouan ,in central Tunisia.
Picture is courtesy of "bibbijian" who published it on Flickr.


The shot is showing a casino window, probably Jewish, in Granada, Nicaragua. 
I liked what trixiebedlam comment there:
totally cool. whenever someone wins, they do the hora.

Picture is courtesy of "dogseat" who published it on Flickr. 

Burgos Cathedral

Six pointed star in a rose window in the Gothic-style cathedral in Burgos, Spain. The cathedral was built in the 13th century but the main façade was reformed in the 18th century.
Picture is courtesy of "Sandra Mora" from Flickr

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Almudena Cathedral

Hexagram pattern in the Almudena Cathedral, near the Royal Palace in Madrid, Spain. The Almudena Cathedrais is very new by European standards; it was completed in 1993 but the plans for its building began in the 16th century.
Picture is courtesy of "holy_beehive" from Flickr

The Law of Spiritual Conservation of Energy

Theodor Herzl suggested seven golden stars for the flag of Israel to symbolize "the seven golden hours of our working day." As every body knows the flag eventually had one Star of David on its center. These seven Stars of David appear on the logo of Zim Israel Navigation Company.
Picture is courtesy of "kirsten_pdx" who published it on Flickr

Anousim, Marranos, Crypto Jews

Photo is courtesy of "yvern99" who published it on Flickr. This Texan tombstone belongs most likely to a Jew who was forced to convert to the Catholic religion. Somehow his family succeeded in smuggling Stars of David under the prominent Cross.
The Marranos aka Crypto Jews aka Anousim are the descendants of the Jews of Spain and Portugal who were forced to convert to Christianity more than 500 years ago. Stars of David on gravestones and in churches are among the traits that help the Marranos identify their origins. The power of ancient history to manipulate our modern actions is an amazing phenomenon. Somebody sometime started using this peculiar symbol and that was enough to help his remote descendents after so many generations to succeed in finding their way home.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Hexagram Room

A 3rd century Roman room full of hexagrams in Villa Romana del Casale in the town of Piazza Armerina in the province of Enna, Sicily. Researchers couldn't identify the owner of this villa. This is THE BEST ancient hexagram artifact I've seen so far. In each hexagram there's a circular emblem, containing allegories of the four seasons or images of fish and birds.

The mosaics are made of rare marble pieces which are called Opus sectile.
Picture is courtesy of "liberalmind1012" who published it on Flickr and wrote to me:
I didn't even see the stars until you pointed them out--thanks!

Coptic Church

A six-pointed star on the upper right side of this decoration which is in the Coptic "Hanging Church" in Old Cairo, Egypt . It is called el-Muallaqa in Arabic, and is dedicated to St. Mary.
Picture is courtesy of "phool 4 XC" who published it on Flickr.
This is the first time I stumble upon a Coptic six-pointed star.

The Mystery Of The Menorah And The Star Richard A. Freund University of Hartford in

Nationalism, Zionism and ethnic mobilization of the Jews in 1900 and beyond ed. Michael Berkowitz, 2004 ISBN 9004131841 ‏:

Coptic Christianity also picked up the symbol and used it on stamps with a cross in the center, a rosette in the center, and with a series of triangles in and around the points of the hexagram

Villa Romana del Casale

A very well preserved white lily inside a black hexagon inside a white six-pointed star from late 3rd century in the northern part of the villa Romana del Casale, in the town of Piazza Armerina in the province of Enna, Sicily. 
African artists who were renowned for their expertise in polychrome mosaics probably made these mosaics. This villa has nearly 50 rooms and the mosaics in it cover an area of 3500 square meters. 
Picture is courtesy of "reziemba" from Flickr.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Double Tetraktys in Urinal

This Hexagram picture is courtesy of "veen" who published it on Flickr under the title "Star of David in urinal". I think this is a double tetraktys, and not a Star of David, same as the one that appears on the one-dollar-bill. 
The tetraktys of the number ten is made of ten dots arranged in four rows representing the numbers 1-4. When you add to it another tetraktys turning to the opposite side some of the points overlap and you get this double tetraktys. Anyhow I'm convinced that the designer of this urinal meant no harm...

Berlin, Germany, New Synagogue

Golden Star of David on the golden dome of the New Synagogue of Berlin which was built in 1866 in Moorish style. It was the largest synagogue in Germany with seats for up to 3000 members. The building was damaged in air raids In 1943 and reconstructed in 1995.
Picture is courtesy of "[martin]" who published it on Flickr.

Black Hebrew Israelites

A sign in Harlem, New York .
On the left side of the Hexagram there's a link to a website. I tried it - it's broken.
ICUPK stands for
Israelite Church of Universal Practical Knowledge

I read that

Some of the ICUPK's contentions [are] that the apostles and prophets of the Bible, including Jesus, were black, and that people of color make up the true 12 Tribes of Israel.
Picture is courtesy of "dM.nyc" who published it on Flickr.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Symbol of Lord Shanmukha

Picture of swastika in the center of a hexagram  is courtesy of "Roshnii" who published it on Flickr. 
The swastika  symbolizes spiritual goal
The hexagram -  balance between action in the world and spiritual development
The lotus petals -  rising a above the day to day struggles

Swastika Sitting in the Star of David

Picture is courtesy of "premasagar' who published it on Flickr where it was viewed by more than 800 visitors, and started an interesting discussion about the meaning of the Swastika and the meaning of the Star of David. This is what I call photography at its best - making us think about what we see...

Magnetic Ribbon

There's a kind of overlapping between the Israeli flag and the Star of David as issues for my research. Usually I try to avoid the first just to make this distinction clear; but here it is so obvious that the Star of David is getting lost in these too long blue stripes that I decided to include it in my collection anyhow. I'm sure that the intent of the designer of this ribbon was good but since the Star of David gets way out of proporsion I wouldn't put it on my car...
Picture is courtesy of "jasoneppink" who published it on Flickr.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Snow Flakes

What is the origin of the Star of David? - well, from the dawn of history people saw this shape in snow slakes such as the ones shown in this photo, which is courtesy of "moonbird" who published it on Flickr and made it Creative Commons so that people like me will be able to blog it.
The following paragraph is from Dr. Asher Eder’s book The Star of David, which was published in 1987 in English in Jerusalem by Rubin Mass: Ltd. The publication here is courtesy of Oren Mass

Everything takes place within the huge power field of Creation, with its infinite number of sub-fields, all expressing inherent possibilities.
An impressive example is the common snowflake. Hydrogen and water are basic agents forming matter in general and life in particular. Interestingly enough, the six-lobed pattern may show up in both of them although, to be sure, other patterns can show up, too (e.g. rings, disks, etc)... Snowflake crystals, apparently following the rudimentary regularity of the hydrogen atom's probability cloud, usually adopt the six-lobed pattern... in the form of the hexagram:
... The amazing fact that each fractal element bears a resemblance to the whole was taken into account during the development of holograms.


It is strange for a Jew to see the shape of OUR Star of David used by ANOTHER religion, but this is typical to this emblem, which laughs at our concepts of ownership. It was used by ALL the main religions along history. It still is in use by some religions. It tells us, as if we are already living in John Lennon's IMAGINE LAND:
Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too

Picture is courtesy of "savia"  who published it on Flickr 


An army emblem inside the hexagon of a Star of David on a memory wall dedicated to Israeli soldiers who lost their lives in order to save us (that's what the Hebrew caption says). Yaniv Shapira sent me this picture.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Light in the Dark

A hexagram stands tall on its own in Washington University. It fits this symbol to be high big and bright - in this place it looks just right!
Picture is courtesy of "live pancake" who published it on Flickr.

Parisian Arcades in Budapest

Hexagram pattern in Budapest in what the Hungarians call "Parizsi udvar" which means in English "Paris Courtyard". It is a shopping-centre built in 1911 in the Art-Nouveau and the neo-gothic styles. 

Photo is courtesy of "me_maya" who published it on Flickr.

Medieval Church

It is always surprising to find another hexagram in an important Church. Munzerr found this one In Minster, York on the upper stained glass surrounding a shape called All-Seeing Eye

Minster York is the largest Medieval Church in England and the stained glass is probably from the twelfth century

Monday, October 16, 2006

Star of David on a Cross

Picture of a hexagram on a 14 century C.E. brick pavement tile from “Luxembourg House” (Piata Mica nr. 16), in Sibiu,  is courtesy of Daniel Tellman who published it on Flickr. This tile  measures about 25 x 25cm, and it is 5,5 cm thick. Pay attention also to the Lily symbol above the hexagram.

Book cover

Six hexagons surround a seventh hexagon and in each one of them there's a Star of David on a book cover made by the hands of" blackeyebunky" who published this photo on Flickr and wrote in the caption:

I carved the boards with a pocket knife whilst burning in the sun of the North Carolina mountains. Oh, and there's a couple layers of milk paint and shoe polish on the cherry boards.

Jacob's Blessing to Dan

Jacob's Blessing to Dan At Rabbi Meir Baal Haness Tomb in Tyberias. The Hebrew letters are from Gen 49:16 

Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent by the way...

Sunday, October 15, 2006

It's Just a Pincushion

Picture is courtesy of ringwormone who published it on Flickr. It's just a pincushion but it makes me feel as if the pins are hurting me. In other words IMHO this symbol doesn't deserve this usage. Nevertheless it looks great, and the photo is super artistic, colorful and innocent...

Beyond the Star

Picture is courtesy of "spoedman" from Flickr who wrote to me
I'm afraid I can't tell you where exactly it was, except that it was in East Berlin, somewhere between the Vitra Design Museum and the Mauer Park. I saw it when walking that stretch, and was inspired by the graphical aspect, only to grasp the symbology and metarphorical part of it when I saw the picture

Gold Star of David

Gold Star of David Copyright: "Sarah Feingold and Feingold Jewelry 2006" 
Copied from Flickr 
Sarah  wrote to me:
This unique and contempoary Jewish star pendant took me over 3 years to design, and I think the time I spent on it was worth every minute. The pendant is around 7/8 inches (2.2 cm) long and weighs around 2.75 grams each.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Jacob's Blessing to Reuben

Star of David on a painted window and in it Jacob's Blessing to Reuben at Rabbi Meir Baal Haness Tomb in Tyberias. The Hebrew letters are from Gen 49:3:
Reuben, thou [art] my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength.

Jacob's Blessing to Benjamin

A Star of David on a painted window and in it Jacob's Blessing to Benjamin at Rabbi Meir Baal Haness Tomb in Tyberias. The Hebrew letters are from Gen 49:27: "Benjamin shall ravin [as] a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil."

Jacob's Blessing to Joseph

A Star of David on a painted window and in it Jacob's Blessing to Joseph. It is at Rabbi Meir Baal Haness Tomb in Tyberias. The Hebrew letters are from Gen 49:22:
Joseph [is] a fruitful bough, [even] a fruitful bough by a well; [whose] branches run over the wall.