A Brief Meditation on the Magen David
This interesting image combines the Magen David with the yin/yang symbol.
The Magen David (Shield of David) is one of the world's oldest and most powerful symbols. Composed of two equilateral triangles welded together and covered with bull's hide, the shield was (comparatively) light and extremely strong. It protected against sword blows from any direction. It also could be mass-produced easily from iron rods, thus enabling an entire army to be equipped quickly and inexpensively.
The term "Magen David" appears in the prayerbook in the blessings following the Haftorah reading. The term refers to G-d, who shielded David in battle; it may be a reference to Psalm 18, in which David compares G-d to a shield.
The Magen David can also represent the number seven -- the six points plus the center (where the shield would be held). In Eschol Ha-kofer Judah Hadassi writes: "Seven names of angels precede the mezuzah: Michael, Gabriel, etc. ... Tetragrammaton protect you! And likewise the
sign, called the 'Shield of David', is placed beside the name of each angel."
Kabalists maintain that the six points of the shield plus the center represent the seven directions (Up, Down, East, West, South, North, and Center). In the Zohar it is said to represent the six sephirot of the male united with the seven sephirot of the female.
Many have noted that the two triangles can be seen as uniting heaven and earth. The warrior's feet are planted on the ground while his spirit aims at the heavens; the warrior's spirit is grounded above but aimed at earthly victory.
The triangle of course is the strongest geometric figure. To meditate on the double triangle of the Magen David at the start of an enterprise is to invoke spiritual and physical strength to one's service.