When you look at the menorah (what looks like a seven-armed candelabra) on the Aleph Male label, what are you looking at?
You are looking at an ancient Jewish symbol and ritual object going back thousands of years. Menorah means 'lamp' in Hebrew and it's origin goes all the way back to the story of the Exodus from Egypt.
Let me fill you in. Way back in the day (about 3,300 years ago) the Children of Israel were slaves in Egypt. It was not a good situation. The Torah brings down that God sent the Jewish people the prophet Moses to liberate them from bondage.
After a series of, supernatural plagues, miracles, and wonders, the Jewish people were lead out of Egypt and into the desert towards the Promised Land.
In the desert, the Jewish people were guided to Mt. Sinai where they experienced mass collective Divine revelation. Many momentous things happened at Mt. Sinai including the fact that Moses also received specific instructions to build a portable temple. He was told the children of Israel should “make Me a sanctuary and I will dwell in their midst.” (Exodus 25:8)
In Hebrew, this sanctuary is known as the ‘Mishkan’ and is often referred to as the ‘Tabernacle’ in English.
Moses was also instructed to “make a menorah of pure gold” (Exodus 25:31) and to place it in the Mishkan. The menorah was a golden oil lamp with seven arms (a central column with three arms curving upward on each side).
The Torah also teaches that the children of Israel should use “pure olive oil, crushed for lighting, to kindle the lamps continually. (Exodus 27:20).” The Hebrew used here for ‘lamps continually’ is ‘ner tamid’ which can also be translated as ‘eternal flame’. The sages teach the once the menorah was kindled there was always a flame burning on the menorah.
The menorah symbolizes the light in the darkness. The Talmud connects the menorah to wisdom. Jewish spiritual teachings also bring down that the ‘ner tamid’ is the spiritual light that cannot be extinguished inside of us no matter what because it is connected to the Divine, and when we tap into that light, we can begin to change our life for the better, no matter how dark it is.
Painting Credit: Baruch Nachshon
There is a saying from the great Jewish spiritual revolutionary Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi who lived in the 18th century. He said, ‘a little bit of light can dispel a lot of darkness.’
Once Jerusalem became the physical and spiritual capital of the Jewish people, the menorah also stood in the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem. After the sacking of Jerusalem by the Romans in 71CE (which began the second Jewish exile) the Romans celebrated their victory over the Jewish people by constructing a monumental arch in Rome known as the Arch of Titus.
The arch depicts the spoils the looted from the Second Temple and included is a depiction of the menorah.
It’s amazing that the Arch of Titus is now a relic of the ancient world and the menorah is still a living symbol and tool used by the Jewish people both symbolically and religiously today.
The menorah is the symbol of the State of Israel.
The menorah is also the ritual object associated with the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.
And just bring this point home check out the epic pics Aleph Male tribe member Rabbi Hillel Lester sent during his visit to Rome.
In the left half, Rabbi Hillel is juxtaposing his tin of Aleph Male Beard Balm in front of the Arch of Titus (you can see the menorah in the background) and in the right half Rabbi Hillel is standing in front of the Roman Colosseum.
It is also worth noting that similar to the menorah, one of the main ingredients in Aleph Male Beard Oil and Aleph Male Beard Balm is also olive oil harvested and crushed in the Holy Land of Israel.
A quick note about the menorah used during Hanukkah. During the holiday of Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights held during the darkest days of winter, the menorah that is used rather than having seven branches has eight branches or lights. More accurately, this menorah is referred to as a ‘Hanukkiah’.
The reason it has eight branches is because after the Maccabees drove out the Greek armies occupying Jerusalem in 140BCE they needed to rededicate the Temple which had been defiled by the Greeks.
Obviously part of rededicating the Temple in Jerusalem is kindling the menorah but as we mentioned earlier, the oil used for the menorah has to a special pure oil. Only enough of this oil was found to last for one day, but a miracle occurred and the oil burned for eight days which gave the Jewish people enough time to make new oil.
It is also a symbol of Jewish pride and resistance in the face of persecution because during the Greek occupation it was illegal for the Jewish people to practice their religion. So during Hanukkah the Hannukiah is displayed publicly for all people to see. Below is the most recent Aleph Male Hannukiah.
There is so much more to say about the menorah and now when you look at the Aleph Male seal (if you weren’t familiar with this information), you have a little insight into the symbolic inspiration behind our brand.
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