There is a famous drawing of the menorah by the Rambam in his peirush mishnayos (commentary to the Mishna); this is what it looks like:

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However in the Rambam's commentary as printed in my gemara (Greenwald shas) it's depicted like this:

enter image description here

Why would they make the menorah round if the Rambam's actual drawing is straight? In addition, the Rambam son(Rabbeinu Avraham) writes in his peirush on chumash (Terumah 25:32 ) that the menorah is straight like his father drew and not round like others depict.

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    Have you asked the publisher? They'd know better than anyone else.
    – msh210
    Commented Apr 30, 2018 at 3:56
  • note that we have contemporary depictions of the menorah quite clearly showing it as round. That probably has a lot to do with it.
    – user15253
    Commented Apr 30, 2018 at 11:56

1 Answer 1


I don't know the full depth to this, but there are a lot of politics about the Menorah shape.

Chabad holds that this drawing by the Rambam is literally what it looked like. (You will notice that Chabad public menorahs are often angular) Others hold that Rambam's picture is only meant to illustrate the order of the cups, flower, and knob decorations. The fact that this Greenwald edition redraws the original illustration is interesting. Perhaps they wanted to avoid being viewed as a Chabad mouthpiece? It would be interesting to see what the original source of this rounded drawing is.

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    As CE pointed out "Others hold that Rambam's picture is only meant to illustrate the order of the cups, flower, and knob decorations." This is not just an assumption, it is based on the Rambams own words in that same location stating "ם: "ואני אצייר לך עתה בצורה זו הגביעים תבנית משולש, והכפתורים עגול, והפרח חצי עגול, כל זה כדי להקל על הציור, כיון שאין המטרה בציור זה שתדע ממנו תבנית הגביע בדקדוק כיון שכבר בארתי לך אותו, אלא הכוונה בו ידיעת מנין הגביעים והכפתורים והפרחים ומקומותם ושעורי מה שהיה בקנה המנורה שאין בו כלום, והמקומות שהיו בהם הכפתורים והפרחים, וכללותה היאך היתה. Commented Apr 30, 2018 at 8:28
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    Thus the Rambam himself points out that his illustration is not exact as in reference to anything but the number of cup, flower, and knob decorations and their location on the menorah. Commented Apr 30, 2018 at 8:34
  • Yea ,but the Rambam son Rabbeinu Avraham says that it was davaka straight,and not round.
    – sam
    Commented Apr 30, 2018 at 13:26
  • I did not downvote your answer btw
    – sam
    Commented Apr 30, 2018 at 13:50
  • The illustration goes back long before Greenwald - it's in the Vilna edition of the 1880s (of which Greenwald, or at least the Peirush Hamishnayos there, is a facsimile), and maybe earlier, for all I know. So nothing to do with "being viewed as a Chabad mouthpiece."
    – Meir
    Commented Nov 24, 2020 at 15:56

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