Thursday, February 7, 2019

THE GREAT MENORAH DEBATE


                THE GREAT MENORAH DEBATE


The last Lubavitcher Rebbe R.M.M. Schneersohn zt"l,  was very insistent that the Menorah be depicted with straight branches and not to depict it with curved branches resembling that of the Arch of Titus. 
The Rebbe's two main proofs that the Menorah's branches were diagonally straight are,

1) Rashi (Shemos 25:32) "לכאן ולכאן באלכסון"
Most read Rashi as stressing that the branches of the menorah were diagonally straight, and negating that they were rounded like an arch.

2) The Oxford manuscript of the Rambam (פהמ"ש מנחות פ"ג) the design of the menorah. drawn personally by the Rambam where the branches are depicted as straight lines from the stem to the full height of the menorah.

There are others* who argue on the Rebbe. They hold, there is overwhelming evidence that seems to prove that the Menorah's branches were indeed curved.
(perhaps one day in another email)

They claim that both proofs from the Rebbe are inconclusive.

1) They claim that the word באלכסון does not necessarily mean diagonally straight but can also mean diagonally curved.
We find Rashi using the word אלכסון at least twice in the Torah where אלכסון is not a straight line.

(במדבר ל" ד: י"א- והירדן מושך- במדבר ל" ד: ד -בענין גבולות הארץ) 

2) The Rambam writes explicitly in פהמ"ש that his drawings are not accurate (using upside-down triangles as the גביע and round instead of oval buttons etc.) His sole intention is to show how the גביעים כפתורים & פרחים were placed on the Menorah and not a drawing of the Menorah. We can also assume that the straight diagonal branches were not intended to be accurate.

ואני מצייר עכשיו הצורה הזאת שהגביעים צורת דבר משולש והכפתור עגולה והפרח חצי עגולה כדי שיהיה קל להצטייר שאין הכוונה בצורה הזאת להודיע בה צורת הגביע על אמתתו לפי שכבר בארתי אותו לך אבל הכוונה להודיע בה מספר הגביעים וכפתורים והפרחים ומקומותם והשיעור הנשאר מעמוד המנורה שאין בו שום דבר והמקומות שהיו בהן הפרחים והכפתורים וכולה איך היתה וזו היא צורת כל זה:

 
הרב ישראל אריאל  ראש מכון המקדש וראש כולל בית הבחירה*
    


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