Those of us who are familiar with Star of David jewelry may yet be surprised by Star of David philosophy. The reference is to a philosophical treatise by German/Jewish philosopher Franz Rosenzweig who penned his opus “The Star of Redemption” in 1921. Rosenzweig lived in the time of emancipation, when Jews were first exiting the ghettos of Europe and coming into contact with Western culture and the enlightenment.This was a time of extreme assimilation for Jews, and many either stopped practicing their faith or else converted to Christianity in order to become more fully integrated into society. Rosenzweig was one of those seriously tempted to leave his Jewish faith and convert. Fortunately enough, during the high holiday season of 1914, on Yom Kippur day, he went to synagogue and was so deeply moved by the service that he not only decided to become a practicing Jew, he decided to write his book based on the shape of the Jewish Star of David, the Star of Redemption.

By using this title, he didn’t mean to promote the world of Judaica symbols or promote Magen David necklaces or anything like that. In fact, he hesitated in titling the work as he did because he didn’t want it to be seen as a “Jewish” book. He was actually just using the shape of the star to structure his philosophy. On one triangle, he connected the subjects Man, World, and God; on the other, the ideas of Creation, Revelation, and Redemption.

These six terms summarized for him the way spiritual reality functions, and not just for Judaism. No doubt influenced by his near conversion to Christianity, he surmised that Christianity is to Judaism like rays are to the sun. With Judaism being the sun, a small centralized point of energy, its rays, while not being the source and not having the same power, go out to effect that rest of the world.

And so it is in reality. Had Christianity never developed, it is unclear if the world would have ever heard of the Bible at all. At least, now, the world knows and understands ethical monotheism, thanks to which mankind, or at least large parts of it, recognizes that all men are created equal.

It is also doubtful if the Star of David would have been popular or even known at all without the “rays” of Judaism.