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The Llewellyn Encyclopedia

Term: Rod


Rod: Jewish tradition tells of staffs endowed with miraculous powers. Specifically, the staff of Aaron was transformed into a serpent and was the instrument for summoning the first three plagues against Egypt. Aaron’s rod, however, also delivered signs when not in his hands, as when it budded and blossomed overnight as part of a trial by ordeal. Moses also possessed a rod he used in performing miraculous deeds.

Later tradition claims all Biblical references to staves actually allude to a single magical rod that was given to Adam, then traveled with the Patriarchs, Prophets, and Kings of Israel across history. This rod, created on the eve of the sixth day, was made of either sapphire or almond wood and bore an inscription of the Tetragrammaton as well as an acrostic phrase constructed from the initials for the Ten Plagues. Like Excalibur, only the rightful owner could withdraw the rod once it was planted in the ground.

Hidden away by Elijah, in time the staff will reappear as a weapon in the hands of Hephzibah, the mother of the Messiah. It then will pass from her to the Messiah ben Joseph and then to the Messiah ben David who will wield it in end-times struggles.

Christianity developed additional magical traditions about this legendary staff, regarding it to be a relic from the Tree of Life and linking it closely to various Biblical figures and finally to Jesus, for whom the staff served as the cross beam of his crucifix.
source: The Encyclopedia of Jewish Myth, Magic & Mysticism, by Rab


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