The Menorah and the Tree of Life
One of the most ancient symbols of Judaism is the seven-branched candlestick known as the menorah.
While it is an important symbol of the exoteric Jewish faith, the menorah also has esoteric associations linking it to
Otz Chiim, the Tree of Life. The form of the menorah was reputedly given to Moses by God, as
related in Exodus 25:31-37:
Make a lampstand of pure gold and hammer it out, base and shaft; its flower-like cups, buds and blossoms shall be of one
piece with it. Six branches are to extend from the sides of the lampstand - three on one side and three on the other. Three
cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms are to be on one branch, three on the next branch, and the same for all
six branches extending from the lampstand. And on the lampstand there are to be four cups shaped like almond flowers with buds
and blossoms. One bud shall be under the first pair of branches extending from the lampstand, a second bud under the second pair,
and a third bud under the third pair - six branches in all. The buds and branches shall be of one piece with the lampstand,
hammered out of pure gold. Then make its seven lamps and set them upon it so that they light the space in front of it.
The stress that this passage places on the menorah being constructed from a single piece of pure gold brings home the essential
perfection and undividedness underlying creation: the menorah arises from and is an embodiment of pure unity, just as the Tree
of Life is both a consequence and an expression of the en sof or. The seven candle holders and three
joints where the branches meet the central column represent the ten sefirot of the Tree of Life. The
central column corresponds to the central Pillar of Equilibrium (sefirot 1, 6, 9 and 10), the holders on its left to the Pillar
of Severity (sefirot 3, 5 and 8) and those on its right to the Pillar of Mercy (sefirot 2, 4 and 7).