Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Why didn't the Mitzryim magic makers just take away the blood from the first makkah to prove to Moshe that he was just doing magic and Hashem had nothing to do with it: why did they add blood (Exodus 7:22)?

share|improve this question
It's easier to destroy than to build? – avi Feb 2 '12 at 18:14
Not from jewish source, but I bet those magician simply use sleight of hand. There is indeed a snake that looks like sticks if handled properly. It's done by grabbing the snake's neck. In a sense, it's Moses that's mimic those egyptian magician except that he mimics it with real "magic". Perhaps there is a trick to turn water into blood (putting dye). The other way around is beyond their skills. – Jim Thio Dec 22 '12 at 11:30
Hence the story that Moses grab his big snake by the tail is actually significant. It's like David Coperfield waving leather on top of his head to show he uses no strings. Moses effectively say, look, I used a big species of snake that do not use your cheap acupuncture trick. – Jim Thio Dec 22 '12 at 11:32
The Torah clearly states that all water throughout the land was turned into blood. For the magicians to also turn water into blood, they must have first turned the blood back into water. – Raffy Van der Vaart Jan 9 '13 at 16:32

Rav Hirsch suggests an alternate explanation of the magicians’ behavior according to your suggestion: that they were attempting to undo the effects of the plague with no success—or in the case of the frogs, more frogs came when they attempted to banish them. After their third failure, they acknowledged that it was “God’s Finger” at work.

share|improve this answer

Although I don't have a source, I would say that they didn't have the power to do that. Their point was still accomplished, though, because they proved that they could do the same as Moshe...

share|improve this answer
If you can, can you bring me a source. – cookie monster Jan 2 '11 at 21:18
where did the Mitzryim get the water from to prove they could also do as Moishe did, if it had all been turned into blood? – Raffy Van der Vaart Dec 15 '11 at 13:05
@raffy they could have bought some from the Jews. – yydl Dec 15 '11 at 18:02

Imagine there was a magician claiming to have a super-natural ability to turn water into blood, and you want to discredit him and prove that it's just a trick. You would need to perform the exact illusion that the magician was performing, turn water into blood. Doing the reverse would not discredit the initial "miracle" that the magician performed.

Similarly, the Egyptian magicians wanted to show Pharaoh that what Hashem could do wasn't special. In order to do that the magicians needed to repeat the same exact effect that Moshe performed. Turning it back into water would not discredit Hashem's powerful ability to turn it to blood.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.