July/August 2010 – The Star of David
Kehilat Ariel Messianic Synagogue Newsletter
Volume 26, Number 6 July/August 2010 Tammuz/Elul 5770
The Star of David
By Rabbi Barney Kasdan
There are many beautiful symbols associated with Judaism, but perhaps the most recognizable one today is the star of David. It might surprise many people, however, to realize the star, as a strictly Jewish symbol, is a rather modern development. To look at the origins of the star of David is to take a look into a diverse and interesting history.
The earliest apparent mention of this symbol is found in the Talmud. In describing the reign of King Solomon, the mention is made of how he had power over demonic forces by the emblem on his ring known as the “Seal of Solomon” (Gittin 68). Although the specific design of this seal is not described in this passage, it is also called the “Shield of David” (Magen David) because according to later tradition this also appeared on King David’s battle gear. The first concrete evidence in archaeology was found in the city of Sidon. This consisted of a ring with a seal on it in the shape of a six-pointed star, which was dated from the seventh century BCE. For those who have been to Israel, you will remember the famous six-pointed star on the synagogue of Capernaum. This structure has been dated from the second century CE but it is believed to be directly over the site of an earlier synagogue, the one likely used by Yeshua himself (Luke 4:31-37).
For the centuries to follow, the star of David diversified beyond the Jewish community, with traces being found in Moslem and Christian circles as well. In the year 1190 CE, the hexagram was adapted by Christian groups in Spain as a notary for documents. Of course, the Jewish community continued to use the star as is noted by the King of Prague gave the Jewish community to use the symbol for a Jewish flag in 1354. The Encyclopedia Judaica makes an interesting note that the symbol seems to have been especially used among the earlier “Judeo-Christians”, i.e., Messianic Jews! (See Encyclopedia Judaica article on Magen David).
By the Middle Ages, the star of David seems to have taken on a more focused emphasis. The Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism) expanded the concept of the star from being merely the “Magen David”, the shield of David, to “the shield of the Son of David”; namely, the Messiah himself! Of course, according to traditional Judaism, there would be no greater warrior and deliver than the Messiah, so this interpretation is a very logical progression.
The Jewish star basically fell into disuse again until the rise of modern Zionism in the nineteenth century. At that time it was revived as a particularly Jewish symbol to identify the faith and political aspirations of our people. On the dark side, the satanic movement of Nazism turned the symbol into a mark of persecution as Jews were forced to wear the yellow star, millions dying in the process. One might think that the star as a Jewish symbol would be tarnished forever, but despite the horrific disaster, I believe G-d’s justice has won out. Hitler and his evil kingdom was brought down, but the star of David today graces the flag of the modern state of Israel. No wonder the star of David has become the most cherished symbol of our people today.
Besides this distinctive history of the Magen David, Messianic Jews also see an important spiritual truth associated with it. We would agree with those in rabbinic tradition who saw some kind of “messianic” connection with this particular symbol. After all, the Torah says that the great deliverer of Israel, the Messiah, will have some association with a star. As Bilam/Balaam predicted concerning the future salvation of the Jewish people:
That this verse was interpreted in a messianic way is clear from the events of the last Roman revolt (132-135 CE). You will remember the famous Jewish military leader named Bar Kozba who was leading the Jewish rebels in a last ditch effort. Somehow, it became apparent to the leading Rabbi of the day, Rabbi Akiva, that this Bar Kozba must be our long awaited Messiah. The Rabbi was so convinced that he publicly called upon our people to accept him as the fulfillment of the promise of Numbers 24, even giving the General a new name; Bar Cochba (Son of the Star)! Sadly, this was proven to be a false hope as tens of thousands of Jews perished under the Roman sword.
I honestly can’t blame Rabbi Akiva for wanting the Messianic redemption in his day, or even looking for this person in connection with the star. What is unfortunate is that the Rabbi along with many of our people may have missed the true Messianic redemption and the star just a few years earlier:
Indeed, a star has arisen from David who has fulfilled the first part of that redemptive plan and who will complete G-d’s plan at His glorious return to Zion. No wonder the symbol of the star of David is especially precious to those who have acknowledged Yeshua of Nazareth as that promised One!.
June 5-July 3, Saturdays, 1:15pm-2:15pm. Free Beginning Hebrew Class taught by Rabbi Kasdan. Learn how to read using the Bible as our textbook. Essential for all beginners and recommended as a great Hebrew Bible study for all who already know the language. Open to all adults and kids. In the Social Hall after Oneg. Nu? If not now, when?
July 3, Saturday, 5:35pm. KA at Padres game. Take me out to the ballgame as the first place Padres take on the Astros. Bring your dinner and come early for tailgating at our seats. Talk to Murray Jacobson for details.
July 17, Saturday, 1pm. Mid-year Congregational Meeting. All members are requested to attend as we elect our new Board of Directors. Oneg luncheon will be a fundraiser to support Zach Pacheco as he prepares for his Israel ministry.
July 28-31. UMJC International Conference in Seattle. This will be a great time of gathering with the messianic family from around the world! Dynamic worship services, concerts, seminars and a very special Shabbat together. Go to umjc.org for all the details.
August 15, Sunday, 11am-5pm. Messianic Community Picnic at DeAnza Cove. Come out to this annual event with other believers from Tree of Life Congregation and other Jewish organizations. Bring your lunch and picnic games and be ready for Israeli folkdancing and volleyball. Invites some friends for a great day on Mission Bay!
August 27, Friday, 5:00pm-sunset. Shabbat at the Shores. Bring your chair, blanket and dinner for this special open-air service to welcome in the Shabbat at La Jolla Shores. Meeting on the grassy area by the main lifeguard tower. All surfers meet the rabbi at the checkered flag at 3pm for a surf session!
September 4, Saturday, 7:30pm. Selichot Service and Concert. We will prepare for the high holy days with this night of music, prayer and focus on this important season.
September 8-9, Rosh Hashana Services. We will kick off the holy day season with traditional services on Wednesday, 7:30pm and Thursday, 10:30am. We will also have our Tashlich Service at La Jolla Shores on Thursday, 4pm. No ticket charge but reservations are required by calling our office, 858-490-4355.
Shabbat Morning Services: at 3219 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., in Clairemont, Saturday, 10:30am. Join us for this uplifting time of worship, fellowship and study. Our current sermon series is “The 12 Sons of Jacob” which is an in-depth study on both the history and the future of the various tribes of Israel.
Children Shabbat School: Our children join us for the first part of the service, then break for different classes. Classes for ages 2 through High School which include a Bible lesson plus background on Jewish studies and Hebrew.
Dance Ministry Dance workshop every other month at 1:30 pm meeting upstairs. Contact our office for the latest information.
Midweek Minyan and Messianic Jewish Institute of San Diego: On summer break until August 17.Corporate prayer from 6:30-7:00 on Tuesday. From 7:00-8:30 Current class : “A Jewish Perspective on I Thessalonians”. This fascinating study takes a look at this New Testament letter written by Rabbi Shaul. The MJISD classes can lead to a certificate of Messianic Jewish Studies. No charge for this current class taught by Rabbi Kasdan. Call for information.
“A Taste of Torah” Classes: Saturday 9:00-10:00am. This survey of the Torah class will take you through the Parsha in one year. Currently in Bemidbar/Numbers. A great way to learn the foundations of our faith! There is also a Spanish Torah Study at this same time.
All men are invited to this group for connecting, dialog and encouragement on vital issues that we deal with today. Always some good discussion and study along with service projects for men to be involved with. Contact Rome Remigio for more information at 858-243-3126.
This dynamic group of women meets monthly for study, friendship and service. Call the KA office for the latest info on the next luncheon and meeting. All women are welcome!
Board of Directors
Barney Kasdan, Rome Remigio, Frank Rosas Frank Rosas, Valerie Cooper, Luis Garibay, Mark Rantz, Rome Remigio
Audio: Gabe Pacheco
Dance: Diana Martin
Music: Eric & Joanne Kragenbrink
Office: Donna Jacobson
Resource Center: Alice Hoover
Social Action Committee: Sharon Lynn
Singles: Bob and Jeannette Haas
Translation: Paty Garibay
Website: Mark Rantz
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Del Cerro, Tony & Joan Savarese, (619)501-7778, every Fri, 6:30 pm. Cover dish.
Escondido, Mark & Kathy Rantz, (760)294-9619, 2nd & 4th Fri, 6:30 pm.
Men’s Club (at KA), Rome Remigio 858-243-3126, 2nd & 4th Mon, 7:00pm.
Encinitas, Michael & Jan Folb, (760)436-8828, 2nd & 4th Weds. 7:00 pm.
Oceanside, Diana Israel, (760)231-7005, 1st & 3rd Thurs. 7:00 pm.
Singles, Bob & Jeannette Haas, 415-370-8449. various events planned.
Espanol, Luciano Rivera, 619-475-0430. Shabbat 4pm-sunset at KA upstairs. Potluck.
Sisterhood, contact the KA office for details about the next monthly meeting.
If you would like to send a special love gift donation for our work within the Jewish community, please send it to:
P.O. Box 178755
San Diego, CA 92177
Thank you! And may God return a special blessing to you as you bless our people! (Genesis 12:3)