The Secret of Jewish Unity

Rav Kook interprets the symbolic meaning of the menorah’s shape and design. The multiple branches, in his thinking, reflect the many groups and communities that constitute the nation of Israel. While each branch symbolizes a distinct path within Judaism, the flame atop each one is turned towards the center. The branches may diverge but they are all set aflame by and stay directed towards common goals. In the same vein, Rav Kook pointed out that the blessing recited when kindling the Chanukah menorah refers to a single ner, one candle, even when a person lights all eight candles on the final night. That is because the distinct candles are in reality one, as they are all parallel paths rising to fulfill the will of the One above. The menorah, whether in the Temple or in our home, reflects the true essence of our people, which yearns for unity and harmony.

To see this idea in the writings of Rav Kook see Siddur Olat Reiyah, Volume 1, his comment on the Chanukah blessings.

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