For years I have read the pesukim of Korach 17:20 -25 which describes the episode of the blossoming of Ahron's staff amongnst the other tribe leader's staffs. However, if you notice Moshe Rabbeinu himself went in and placed the staffs and the following day retrieved the staffs by himself.

Rashi notes on passuk 21 that he placed Ahron's staff in the middle so people shouldn't think that he placed his near the Divine Presence. We see from Rashi that Moshe anticipated skepticism from some, therefore he preempted their argument and placed it in the middle. However, I would think that their greatest argument would be to say that Moshe Rabbeinu went in himself and maybe he performed a trick and made the middle staff blossomed before he showed the nation of Israel. My question is why didn't Moshe preempt that suspicion and why didn't anyone who was looking for trouble make such a claim?

  • How do you know no one made such a claim? – mevaqesh Jul 7 '16 at 1:33
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    The Torah doesn't mention such an idea,and Rashi only mentions the idea of suspicion only regards to the postioning of the staff,not that he went in himself, the question is two fold why wasn't Moshe worried about going in himself and seemingly this would be a better claim – sam Jul 7 '16 at 1:37
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    I did,if Moshe thought to put Ahorn staff in the middle to avoid suspicion than why didn't he think going in by himself would provoke suspicion – sam Jul 7 '16 at 1:47
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    Well if I had such a proof I wouldn't have a question,would i? I would assume that such suspicion would be documented in the Torah – sam Jul 7 '16 at 1:53

I would challenge the premise of this question with two points:

  • we do not know that it was not challenged (other commenters)
  • It is a possibility that Moshe was being watched the entire time

If we accept the premise of this question, I can provide 2 answers.

Rashbam (Bamidbar 17:23, he bases this claim off the wording of the Passuk) claims that when Moshe brought out the sticks, Aaron's had only just blossomed with flowers, and in front of the entire nation it grew the rest of the way, presumably by miracle. According to this view, the main miracle would have taken place in front of the nation, and left no room for skepticism.

Personal answer: It seems that the Benei Yisrael believed that this was to be the test as to who Hashem chose to lead them. As a result, they were concerned maybe the stick closest to the Shechina would be chosen to blossom (as per Rashi). However, they were each given back their own sticks to check after the fact, which confirmed that no one else's stick had blossomed, and thus, it must have been Aharon's stick that blossomed without trickery. This will be true according to the other Mefarshim who say that Moshe found the stick fully blossomed/grown.


I finally found someone who addresses this exact question. The Sifsei Kohen (Mekubal Rav Mordechai HaKohen) explains that kishuf (magic) does not last longer than 12 hours ,and the Torah says:

"The Lord said to Moses: Put Aaron's staff back in front of the Testimony as a keepsake [and] a sign for rebellious ones. Then their complaints against Me will end and they will not die.[Chabad translation].

The fact that it was kept as a keepsake forever shows that it's not magic since it is longer than 12 hours and that will prove that no tricks were performed.

It should be noted that there are opnions who hold that kishuf doesnt last more than 24 hours. [Ben Yoyada -Sanhedrin 65b]

  • +1 The time limitation of kishuf puts a new twist on the give and take about the makos in Mitzraim. – user6591 Jul 8 '19 at 10:04

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