The menorah and olive branches depicted in Zechariah’s vision were chosen as the centerpieces of the State of Israel’s emblem. According to its designers, the olive branches symbolize the state’s peaceful intentions. The image of the menorah, copied from the Arch of Titus, attests to the link of the Jewish people with their glorious past in their homeland, and Israel’s return to its former luster. There are perhaps no two better symbols to represent the Jewish people. Oil, the most valuable commodity obtained from the olive, is extracted when pressure is applied. In a similar fashion, the Jewish people are refined when faced with difficulty, whether through persecution or the difficulties of day-to-day life. Though challenging, these hardships allow each individual to focus on what is truly important, become more sensitive to others and form a closer connection with Hashem. It then follows that olive oil is used to light the menorah, representing clarity and wisdom for the entire world.

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Source: Israel in the News