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Seeing that pure gold cannot remain in its functional shape for everyday use being that it's too bendable, how did the Menorah in the Mishkan not fall apart after a few months? The Torah says the Menorah was chiseled out of one large chunk of pure gold (Shemos 25:31)

וְעָשִׂיתָ מְנֹרַת זָהָב טָהוֹר מִקְשָׁה תֵּעָשֶׂה הַמְּנוֹרָה יְרֵכָהּ וְקָנָהּ גְּבִיעֶיהָ כַּפְתֹּרֶיהָ וּפְרָחֶיהָ מִמֶּנָּה יִהְיוּ׃

You shall make a lampstand of pure gold; the lampstand shall be made of hammered work; its base and its shaft, its cups, calyxes, and petals shall be of one piece.

Note: I'm not asking how the Menorah was made out of pure gold as that may have involved Direct Intervention, rather how did the malleable Menorah have the ability to continue functioning for many years?

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    just a side quote, "The Gemara (Menachos 88b) quotes the opinion of Rav Sheishes that although the Menorah was sculpted out of one piece of solid gold, the lamps which held the oil were separate from the Menorah and were removable. ... Aaron would bend the branches of the Menorah downwards [the gold was sculpted thinly in order to facilitate this], and then reshape the Menorah by bending them back up." torah.org/torah-portion/olas-shabbos-5764-behaaloscha/…
    – rosends
    Mar 1 at 18:40
  • @rosends, why is this "just a side quote"? Is this not a complete answer to the original question? Gold is bendy, but Aharon would put it back when it bent.
    – MichoelR
    Mar 1 at 19:18
  • @MichoelR, see Rashi there.
    – Mordechai
    Mar 1 at 22:00
  • I think you may be confounding two terms here. There is gold the element (Au) and gold the material, which are not synonamous. You can have a pure gold material, free from any impurities, but still only consisting of 80% gold atoms. In this case, other metallic atoms are interspersed roughly evenly within the atomic structure, yielding a homogenous material, that is colloquially known as gold. I'm not sure there is any reason to think that the Torah was referring to gold the element.
    – Silver
    Nov 16 at 16:07
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According to this Wikipedia article - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gold_parting - it does not appear that the gold alloy used in the mishkan would have been more than 85% gold, and therefore would have been much harder than pure gold.

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    When the Torah says to use "זָהָב טָהוֹר - pure gold" that means 85% gold? I like the answer, but are there any Torah sources who support such an idea?
    – NJM
    Mar 1 at 22:09
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    @NJM seems like "pure gold" would have been held to the standards of the time.
    – Baby Seal
    Mar 1 at 22:26
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    @NJM It's not physically possible they had anything else.
    – The GRAPKE
    Mar 1 at 22:30
  • Interesting! This means that the Temple Institute's menorah is purer than the mishkan;s and Temples' 20k(max) menorahs.
    – Gary
    Mar 2 at 4:24
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    @Gary The Temple Institute's menora is gold-covered: "The menorah weighs one-half ton. It contains forty five kilograms of twenty four karat gold."
    – Isaac Moses
    Mar 2 at 4:33
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B"H

One of the answers on that link said

Compared to most minerals, gold is very soft. It is still a metal - and you CAN mold it in your hands IF it is a very small and thin piece - leaf gold, or wire gold is thin enough to be manipulated by hand. And gold is easily handled by simple hand tools - almost every other tool humans make is harder than gold.

It is pretty easy to mold also IF you warm it up considerably - you don’t have to get it to a molten state (the melting temperature of gold is actually pretty high), but ‘warm’ gold is much easier to reshape (it would probably be too hot to handle with your bare hands, though). The warmer it gets, the more ‘malleable’ it becomes (like most things).

You can carve it, or engrave it with tools, even when it is cold, though. It is quite soft, for a metal. It isn’t as soft as clay, which you can mold with your bare hands though.


This doesn't seem to apply to the menorah, which was much larger and thicker than a hair strand, as well as being miraculously made in the desert, and in general in future generations it's also kosher with other metals so it's possible there was a slight mixture, but even if not it would seem too big to bend on it's own naturally based on the above link

Blessings and success

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The Temple Institute built a gold menorah that has a bronze skeleton and is covered in 24k gold. They claim that a pure gold menorah would not be able to support it's own weight. It is on display in Israel.

Therefore, the assumption of the question that the Menorah was pure gold is not true. Either it was made from an alloy that was not pure gold or it had an inner structure for support that was not gold.

Temple Institute Menorah

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    Welcome to MiYodeya and thanks for this first answer. Since MY is different from other sites you might be used to, see here for a guide which might help understand the site. Great to have you learn with us!
    – mbloch
    Nov 16 at 17:18
  • When I was there they told me it was a bronze skeleton.
    – MichoelR
    Nov 19 at 0:26
  • MichoelR, Thank you for correcting me. It is bronze. I corrected my post. Nov 30 at 15:21
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    I'm not sure how this answers how the original Menorah stood
    – robev
    Nov 30 at 18:28

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