||There shall be three embossed cups, as well as a sphere and a flower on each and every one of the branches. All six branches extending from the menorah's [stem] must be the same in this respect.
Shloshah gevi'im meshukadim bakaneh ha'echad kaftor vaferach ushloshah gevi'im meshukadim bakaneh ha'echad kaftor vafarach ken lesheshet hakanim hayotse'im min-hamenorah.
||The [shaft of the] menorah shall havefour embossed cups along with its spheres and flowers.
Uvamenorah arba'ah gevi'im meshukadim kaftoreyha ufracheyha.
(Targum; Yad, Beth HaBechirah 3:2). Rashi states that this is niello, a word used also in English to denote an art of decorating metal with incised designs and black antiquing. Others say that it is a kind of beaten work (Ibn Ezra, from Proverbs 8:34). Others say that the Hebrew word me-shukad-im comes from the word shaked, as almond. It can thus mean almond-shaped (Saadia), decorated with almonds (Rashbam), or engraved like almonds (Radak, Sherashim; Ibn Janach). Others say that the metal is beaten in such a way that the surface appears like a pattern of tiny almonds (Rambam on Menachoth 3:7).
|four embossed cups|
(Saadia; cf. Yoma 52b). One of these was below the branches, and three were above, paralleling the cups on the branches (Menachoth 28b; Rashi).
|spheres and flowers|
Above the cups (Menachoth 28b).