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Moses’ Magical Staff: Dr. Tamar Kadari on Parashat Va’era

Dr. Tamar Kadari
| 24/01/2020

In Parashat Va’era, Pharaoh refuses to allow the Israelites to leave Egypt, even after Aaron exhibits miraculous powers, transforming his staff into a serpent. Moses must take charge.

Is there a connection between Harry Potter and Moses?  Listen as Dr. Tamar Kadari, Dean of the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, shares with us a midrash about the magical staff of Moses.

Full transcript below:

there a connection between Harry Potter and Moses?

In our parasha Moses brings the plagues using a staff. According to the Midrash this isn’t a usual staff. This is more like a magician’s staff. It’s a staff made out of sapphire taken from the throne of God. On the staff are engraved the plagues, and so Moses can use it if he doesn’t remember what the next plague is that he wants to bring.

The idea behind this Midrash is that God planned everything ahead of time. The plagues didn’t come out of angriness or the wrath of God, they were really planned ahead. Everything is part of the plan of God and on the staff Moses can look and see the next plague that has to come.

The staff was given to Moses at the burning bush. And here is another idea. Moses becomes the leader of the people of Israel. He was a shepherd and uses the stick as a shepherd. Now he’ll use this staff, the special magical staff, when he takes the people of Israel out of Egypt and leads them in the desert to the land of Israel.

Shavua Tov from Schechter.

Tamar Kadari is a senior lecturer for Midrash and Aggadah at the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies. She received her PhD in Midrashic literature from Hebrew University in Jerusalem and was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at The University of Pennsylvania. In 2009, Dr. Kadari received a grant from the Israeli Science Foundation (ISF) to head a research group preparing a critical edition of Song of Songs Rabbah. Her research interests include biblical women in the eyes of the rabbis, aesthetics and beauty in rabbinic literature and literary readings of midrash. Dr. Kadari is also a sculptor whose work has been exhibited in galleries in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

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