The Menorah (Hebrew: מנורה) is one of the oldest symbols of Judaism. The Menorah is a seven-branched candelabrum used in the Temple as mentioned in Exodus 25:31:
” וְעָשִׂיתָ מְנֹרַת, זָהָב טָהוֹר; מִקְשָׁה תֵּעָשֶׂה הַמְּנוֹרָה, יְרֵכָהּ וְקָנָהּ, גְּבִיעֶיהָ כַּפְתֹּרֶיהָ וּפְרָחֶיהָ, מִמֶּנָּה יִהְיוּ.”
“And thou shalt make a candlestick of pure gold: of beaten work shall the candlestick be made, even its base, and its shaft; its cups, its knops, and its flowers shall be of one piece with it.”
According to Isaiah 42:6, the Menorah is a symbol of the nation of Israel and our mission to be “a light unto the nations”.
Our Sages add that the light of the Menorah is not a violent force. It is an example for a victory of the Israel nation without using violence.
In the vision in Zechariah, he sees the Menorah, and G-d says: “Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit”. The lampstand in today’s synagogues, called the ner tamid, symbolizes the ancient Menorah.
The Menorah in the First and Second Temples had seven branches. After the Temples were destroyed, a tradition developed not to duplicate anything from the Temple and therefore menorah’s no longer had seven branches. Today we use a six-branched Menorah.
However, a few rabbis have decided to go back to the seven-branched Menorahs, saying that they are not the same as those used in the Temple.