The main symbols of Judaism are both ancient and abstract - the commandment forbidding the creation of 'graven images' for fear of idolatry prevented the production of representations of God or human beings. Jewish symbols have been employed not only by Jews themselves but also by mystics throughout the ages, and their deep levels of meaning and antiquity lend them their continuing importance.
|The Star of David (http://www.byzant.com/symbols/starofdavid.html), or magen David ('Shield of David'), is a strong symbol of Jewish identity, and as a hexagram it represents the interaction of the Divine with the mortal. It has strong links with the Kabbalah (http://www.byzant.com/kabbalah/), and is sometimes known as the Seal of Solomon or the Creator's Star.||(http://www.byzant.com/symbols/starofdavid.html)|
|(http://www.byzant.com/symbols/menorah.html)||The menorah (http://www.byzant.com/symbols/menorah.html) is a seven-branched candlestick, and it is one of the oldest symbols of Judaism. Its traditional form is given in Exodus 25:31-37, and its seven candle holders and three central joints represent the ten sefirot of the Tree of Life (http://www.byzant.com/kabbalah/treeoflife.html).|
|The hanukiyah (http://www.byzant.com/symbols/menorahchanukah.html) or Chanukah menorah (http://www.byzant.com/symbols/menorahchanukah.html) has nine rather than the traditional seven branches. It is used during the eight-day festival of Chanukah, holding one candle for each day and a ninth, the shamash, to light the others.||(http://www.byzant.com/symbols/menorahchanukah.html)|
|(http://www.byzant.com/symbols/tetragrammaton.html)||The Tetragrammaton (http://www.byzant.com/symbols/tetragrammaton.html) is the holy "four-lettered name" of God, most properly transliterated as YHVH. The name is considered so sacred that it is never spoken aloud by devout Jews.|
|The Tree of Life (http://www.byzant.com/kabbalah/treeoflife.html) is the symbol at the heart of the Kabbalah (http://www.byzant.com/kabbalah/). It encapsulates creation and existence, and in the Western Kabbalah forms a whole host of associations with other symbolic systems, such as astrology (http://www.byzant.com/astrology/) and the Tarot (http://www.byzant.com/tarot/).|