Magen David: Shield and Star of King David


Dear Rabbi,

I am a 3/4 goy with no jewish culture preserved in my current family so I apologize in advance for my ignorance. Recently I was digging into the David star (magen David), nazi jewish badge, nazi badges used in KZ-Lagers and the flag of Israel issue and I got completely lost in the fine details. Can you shed some light on these issues?

I got really confused by the role of the David Star in jewish tradition. I understand that it is one very old symbol going back to probably King Solomon. I can not tell how important this symbol is. Is it just one “seal” or “talisman” among many others or is it some very fundamental symbol? I ask this in historical context.
The jewish badge was very prominently used by the nazis to mark jewish people. I refer to the yellow hexagram, which is similar to the magen David. What was the reason this badge was chosen? What was the “message” and “motivation” of the nazis?
I also got confused by the badge system used by the nazis in the KZ-camps. As I understand it, they used colored triangles to indicate the group that the inmate belonged to (jewish, gay, gipsy, etc.) and a second colored triangle indicating the crime that the inmate is guilty of (socialist, common criminal, etc.). For a very long time I assumed that the yellow star was actually two of these triangles, both yellow, combined. Somewhat supporting this, there was the yellow-red combination to indicate socialist jews, etc. Does this theory hold any water? Either inside the camps or outside in the streets.
Why was the magen David chosen to be part of the flag of Israel? Would it have happened without the nazi holocaust? I go back to the original first question: how important is this symbol, what does it mean and what did it use to mean many centuries ago?
Is there any fundamental difference between the solid David star I see and the outline of a hexagram in the flag?
Sometimes I see a three dimensional magen David, with well articulated, intertwining triangles. Sometimes a plain hexagram like the flag of Israel. Is this just “decorative” or is there a deeper meaning to this?

Thanks in advance and sorry for the ignorant questions,






  1. The six-pointed star has long been associated with the Jewish People. In Southern Italy, a tombstone dating back to 300 C.E. was found with a six-pointed star on it. In the year 1354, King Carl IV insisted that the Jews of Prague make a flag for themselves that would feature the six-pointed star as well as the five-pointed star of King Solomon.

    The words “Magen David” literally mean “Shield of [King] David.” Some say that the soldiers of King David’s army wielded shields in the shape of a six-pointed star. King David’s personal royal seal, however, was not a star, but rather a shepherd’s staff and bag. His son, King Solomon, used a five-pointed star for his personal seal.

    Best wishes from the Team