Rod of Aaron

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ROD OF AARON , Aaron's staff with which he used to perform signs before Pharaoh in order to convince him that he and Moses were sent by the Lord, the God of the Israelites (Ex. 7:8ff., 19–20; 8:1, 12). On another occasion, God caused a rod inscribed with Aaron's name to blossom and bear almonds in order to demonstrate his choice of Aaron for the priesthood and to quell the mutterings of the Israelites against God in the wilderness (Num 17:16–26).

[Shlomo Balter]

In the Aggadah

The Bible ascribes similar miraculous powers to the rods of Aaron and of Moses. One rabbinic opinion even regards the two as identical (Yal., Num. 763, Ps. 869). This staff bore the Ineffable Name (Num. R. 18:23).

The rod, with its blossoms and fruit, was created in the twilight between the sixth day and the Sabbath of creation (Pes. 54a). It was previously used by Jacob when crossing the Jordan, and it was also the staff which Judah gave to Tamar (Yal., loc. cit.).

Because it bore the Ineffable Name it blossomed overnight and yielded ripe almonds thus validating Aaron's claim to the priesthood (Num. R. 18:23). The almond, which is the first tree to blossom, indicated that God would quickly punish those who venture to usurp the priesthood (ibid., Tanh. Aḥarei 8). This rod, which never lost its blossoms or almonds, was utilized by the kings of Judah until the destruction of the Temple when it disappeared. In the future, Elijah will reveal it and hand it over to the Messiah (Num. R. 18:23).


Ginzberg, Legends, 7 (1938), 3.