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by Nissan Mindel

Talks and Tales


Library » History » Egypt | Subscribe | What is RSS?


Tzipporah, Yithro's daughter, was famous for her fine character and beauty. In Midyan, where she lived with her father and six sisters, people often talked of Tzipporah's kindness and wisdom. Many were the princes who came to Yithro, seeking the hand of his daughter in marriage.

To all suitors Yithro had but one answer: "In my garden there grows a wonderful staff. If your Royal Highness will get it out of the ground, Tzipporah will be yours."

Eagerly the suitor would go into the garden and up to that wonderful staff glittering in the sun with a million colors and hues. His first attempt to pull the staff out of the ground would bring no results. Again and again he would try to pull at the staff with all his might, but of no avail. The staff simply could not be dislodged from the ground. Thus the princes came hopefully, and left abashed and mystified. Tzipporah would often go into the garden, admire the wonderful staff and wonder who her husband would be.

Tzipporah would often go into the garden, admire the wonderful staff and wonder who her husband would be
But how did this wonderful staff come to be there? Well, it is quite a story.

The staff was as old as the world itself. When G-d created the world, He created that wonderful staff out of pure sapphire. On it were engraved the Hebrew letters of G-d's Name, and ten other mysterious letters.1

G-d gave this staff to Adam to walk with it in the Garden of Eden. Later it turned up in the hands of the pious Noah, and he passed it on to Shem.

Shem passed it on to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob treasured it greatly, and before Jacob died in Egypt, he gave it to Joseph. When Joseph died, Yithro, who was one of Pharaoh's chief counsellors, took it. Returning to Midyan, Yithro planted it in his garden, and there it stuck in the ground and nobody could get it out again.

When Moses fled from Egypt and finally found refuge in Midyan, in the house of Yithro, he took a walk in the garden and saw the Divine staff. He barely touched it, when the staff almost jumped out of the ground. There he was, holding that Divine staff, and he brought it into the house.

Yithro knew then that Moses was a G-dly man. He offered him to become his son-in-law, and Moses gladly agreed.

It was with this Divine staff that Moses later performed all the miracles in Egypt at G-d's command. With this staff, too, Moses split the Red Sea, and brought water out of the rock.

This Divine staff will turn up again in the hands of Messiah, a descendant of David, who will once again perform wonderful miracles with it at G-d's command, when the hour of Israel's complete Redemption will come.

From Talks and tales, by Kehot Publication Society. Available at


  • 1. The mysterious letters were the acronym of the ten plagues which we recite in the Haggadah - D'tzach Adash B'Achav.


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[Hebrew pronunciation: Moshe] Greatest prophet to ever live. Led the Jews out of Egyptian bondage amidst awesome miracles; brought down the Tablets from Mount Sinai; and transmitted to us word-for-word the Torah he heard from G-d's mouth. Died in the year 1272 BCE.
First Jew, and first of our three Patriarchs. Born into a pagan society in Mesepotamia in 1812 BCE, he discovered monethieism on his own. He was told by G-d to journey to the Land of Canaan where he and his wife Sarah would give birth to the Jewish People.
Third of the three Patriarchs and father of the Twelve Tribes. Lived most his life in Canaan and died in Egypt in 1505 BCE. Also known by the name of "Israel."
Second of the three Jewish Patriarchs, son of Abraham and Sarah. Lived in Canaan (Israel); b. 1712 BCE, d. 1532 BCE.
Tenth generation from Adam. Of all humankind, only he and his family survived the Flood which destroyed all civilization in the year 2106 BCE.
The first man, created by G-d on the sixth day of creation. He was banished from the Garden of Eden after eating from the forbidden fruit of the forbidden knowledge. Died in 2830 BCE.
Firstborn son of Rachel and Jacob. Because he was Jacob's favorite son, his brothers conspired against him and sold him into slavery He ended up in Egypt where he became viceroy of the land, and eventually brought his entire family to Egypt. Died in 1451 BCE.
King of Israel who succeeded Saul, becoming king of Israel in 876 BCE. Originally a shepherd, he became popular after he killed the Philistine strongman, Goliath. He is the progenitor of the Davidic royal dynasty -- which will return to the throne with the arrival of King Messiah.
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.