Meaning of the Star of David

Compound StarToday, the Star of David is the premier Jewish symbol. Along with being the centerpiece on the flag of Israel, the six-pointed star (hexagram), made of two interlocking triangles, has long been a popular decorative symbol on all sorts of Judaica, jewelry and art. Because of its geometric symmetry and aesthetic appeal it’s easy to see why, but what does this symbolism represent? Let’s look at 7 interpretations, corresponding to the shape of the Star of David itself:

1) Nature: According to Jewish mysticism, Creation is composed of 4 elements: fire, air, water and earth; the triangle pointing upwards symbolizes fire and air (which both rise), while the triangle pointing downwards symbolizes water and earth (which both gravitate downwards). Therefore, the Star of David symbol represents the continual interactive process of the natural world.

2) Providence: The six points of the Star of David represent G-d’s dominion in all six physical directions: north, south, east, west, up and down. The seventh point is the inner core which represents the spiritual dimension, the supernatural point.

3) Relationship: Life is dynamic symbiotic process of male and female energies. Male energy is directed, goal-oriented, productive, and outward-oriented. On the other hand, female energy is process-oriented, unstructured, and inward-focused. The Star of David symbolizes the unity and harmony of these energies.

4) Covenant: The structure of the star, with two overlapping triangles, has also been thought to represent the relationship between G-d and the Jewish people. The star that points up symbolizes G-d and the star that points down represents this nation.

5) Duality: According to Judaism, humanity is defined by an intense nature of duality: good vs. evil, or spiritual vs. physical. The redemptive process of each individual life, and, in turn, of the world itself, depends on the reconciliation and harmonization of these conflicting internal forces. The form of the Star of David symbolizes this duality.

6) Totality: All of the Jewish people emanate from the original 12 tribes of Jacob: Reuben, Simeon, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Ephraim and Manasseh. In fact, we are called “Israel” stemming from the name given to Jacob by G-d. The Star of David, with its 12 sides, therefore represents all of Israel, past, present and future.

7) Unity: According to the Zohar, G-d, Torah and Israel are in their essence, one. One triangle of the Star of David represents this three sided conection in its inner dimension, and the second triangle refers to its external dimension.