Temple Menorah from Moses Maimonides's Commentary on the Mishnah
Temple Menorah from Moses Maimonides's Commentary on the MishnahSpokesperson

As Hanukkah approaches, the New York-based Yeshiva University Museum (YUM) has announced that its upcoming exhibition will feature a hand-drawn illustration of the Temple Menorah from a manuscript that contains notes by Moses Maimonides (Rambam, 1138-1204), one of the great luminaries of Jewish history.

The Temple Menorah is one of Judaism’s most sacred objects, inspiring awe and wonder throughout the ages. This particular drawing shows the Temple Menorah with seven straight, rather than curved, branches, a style that has been adopted by the Chabad movement in Menorahs placed in many communities around the world. This unique image of the holy gold candelabra may have been drawn by Maimonides himself and is now being shown for the first time in New York City at the YUM exhibition. The Temple Menorah drawing is found in a 12th century copy of the Rambam’s Commentary on the Mishnah featuring his handwritten notes in the margins.

The exhibition, The Golden Path: Maimonides Across Eight Centuries — which runs from May 9 to December 31, 2023 — will also feature a range of other highly important items, including a Mishneh Torah (code of law that revolutionized the study and practice of Judaism) personally signed by Maimonides.

“It is our privilege to bring this collection of rare artifacts for public viewing,” said Gabriel Goldstein, director and chief curator of the Yeshiva University Museum. “It is one thing to view these items digitally, but visitors to the exhibition will marvel in awe when they see the manuscripts in real life, so well preserved.”

“Arguably, no other individual has had a more pervasive or enduring effect on Jewish religious life over the last millennium than Maimonides,” said David Sclar, exhibition curator. “This exhibition is intended to convey not only his importance, but the ways in which people have shaped and been shaped by his impact.”

Items to be featured include rare pieces on loan from the Bodleian Library in Oxford, the British Library, the Royal Danish Library, the Mantua State Archive of the Italian Ministry of Culture and the National Library of Israel.

“The partnerships with international collections are unprecedented, and the exhibition stands to be one of the most impressive collections of Maimonides artifacts ever to be displayed together,” Goldstein explained.