2. I have noticed a six-pointed star on the flag of the State of Israel; what does this star mean?




First of all I want to say that this six-pointed star, which is made of two superimposed triangles, is commonly called ‘star of David’ (in Hebrew ‘Magen David’ which literally means ‘Shield of David’). Secondly I want to say that it is often portrayed on the walls of some synagogues as well; sometimes we see it on the curtain (parokhet) which is before the holy ark (the wardrobe which is in the synagogue and which contains the scrolls of the law of Moses), and on the mantles that wrap up the scrolls of the law. The star of David is often also on Jewish illustrations and tombstones. Many Jews wear it as a pendant. Nevertheless, its origin is unknown.

Some Jews think that it represents the shape of the shield of king David (or perhaps the emblem on it) but this is just a supposition because there are no proofs in the Bible nor in the early rabbinic literature which confirm it. Some other Jews (those who are devoted to the Jewish mysticism) think that the triangle with the vertex turned down represents the fact that God reveals Himself to men, while the triangle with the vertex turned up represents the answer of man to the plan of the divine covenant. Other Jews think that the three sides represent the three kinds of Jews, which are the priests (in Hebrew Kohanim), the Levites and the Israelites. However, these are just theories.

The star of David was used by the Nazis as a distinguishing mark of the Jews, who had to wear it on their clothes (it had to be sewn on the outside). The star of David is on the flag of the State of Israel (a flag which was adopted during the first Zionist Congress, which was held at Basel in 1897). However, I point out that the official symbol of the modern State of Israel is not the Magen David but the Menorah, that is, the candlestick with seven branches.

In the State of Israel, the association of first aid is called Magen David Adom, that is, the Red Star of David, like the Red Cross and the Red Crescent of other countries.