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The Lost Staff of Israel

Old Jaffa

The LORD will extend your mighty scepter from Zion, saying,
    “Rule in the midst of your enemies!” — Psalm 110:2

Many objects that once belonged to the Jewish people have long disappeared since biblical times. The Holy Ark and the menorah that were once in the Holy Temple are perhaps among the most well-known examples. One lesser known item is a simple, yet special staff.

Jewish tradition teaches that the staff Moses used when he parted the Red Sea so the Israelites could leave Egypt originally belonged to Jacob. It was kept in the hands of Israel’s rulers all the way to the time of King David, through his dynasty and descendants until the destruction of the First Temple. According to tradition, the staff will once again reappear in the End Times.

The Jewish sages teach that this is more than just an interesting sidebar about Jewish history; it also tells the story of Jewish history. A staff is a sign of authority. So in essence, while the staff was in the hands of the Jewish people, they experienced the kind of autonomy and independence that Jacob enjoyed while he lived in Egypt, that Moses had as he broke the yoke of slavery, and that the Davidic dynasty maintained until the end of the First Temple period.

It’s no mistake that the staff has been lost ever since. Until recently, the Jewish people had never really enjoyed that kind of freedom again. Instead, they are the survivors of endless oppression and persecution.

Here we stand at a juncture in history when all that is changing. Indeed this time is hinted at in Psalm 110 when it says: “The LORD will extend your mighty scepter from Zion, saying, ‘Rule in the midst of your enemies!’” The psalmist foresaw that the staff, or scepter, would return to Israel once again.

Today, we are blessed to have the State of Israel with a mighty army. We have pledged as a people to protect ourselves and never again be at the mercy of cruel enemies. There are two kinds of staffs in history – one that harms and one that protects. Israel has once again taken up the kind of staff that protects and defends.

Unfortunately, much of the world doesn’t like an Israel with a staff in its hands, and more often than not, she is criticized when she takes action against her enemies in order to protect her citizens from harm. However, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “If the Arabs put down their weapons, there would be no more war. But if Israel put down her weapons, there would be no more Israel.”

Israel has a right to defend herself. It is our duty to defend her right to do so.

With prayers for shalom, peace,

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President

Hebrew Word of the Day
February 7, 2016
Theme: Psalms

Chayalim —
Troops

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