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Is there anything particularly special about the weapon Moshe used against Og? The Gemara Brachos (54b) records

משה כמה הוה עשר אמות שקיל נרגא בר עשר אמין שוור עשר אמין ומחייה בקרסוליה וקטליה.

The story concludes: How tall was Moses? He was ten cubits tall. He took an ax ten cubits long, jumped up ten cubits, and struck Og in the ankle and killed him.

(Based on the years of experiences with the staff, I expected Moshe to use the miraculous matteh to finish off Og - as the Me'am Loez Haggada (p.69) quotes the Zohar Chadash, Beshalach saying the "staff was under Moshe's authority until the Mishkan was erected....he could take it anytime he needed it to perform a miracle." Taking on Og would seem to be one of those miracles.)

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    Did he have years of experience using the staff as a battle weapon? – mevaqesh Jan 4 '18 at 23:23
  • If it would take a miracle to defeat Og (jump 10 amos with a 10 amos weapon to merely strike the ankle), then it would seem more beneficial to use something with miraculous capabilities than a just an ax. – NJM Jan 4 '18 at 23:44
  • You are making a series of assumptions. Who says the point of this fantastic Midrash is that it was a miracle jump; maybe that it is "normal" jump for a 10 amma. Who knows. Its not like any of this makes sense anyway to have a frame of reference. (In reality a ten amma tall person would not be able to live). || Is it easier for God to do miracles with an item that formerly had a miracle done with it? || That's besides for assuming it is literal even though it is precisely the sort of fantastic Midrash that anybody but an Ashkenazi wouldn't take literally. – mevaqesh Jan 4 '18 at 23:51
  • Devarim Rabba (1:24) has a different version: Moshe inscribed God's name on some potsherd and threw it at Og. In Prof. Saul Lieberman's ed. of DR (based on Oxford ms., p. 27) a slightly different version is preserved. – Oliver Jan 4 '18 at 23:55
  • @mevaqesh you might find this interesting: Riva on the size of Og's bed (Devarim 3:11) essentially asks a question on Chumash from this Gemara: תשע אמות ארכה וד' אמות רחבה באמת איש. אין לתמוה איך היה שלא היה ערשו כי אם ט' אמות אורך וד' רוחב הלא היה עוג יותר ויותר כדמשמע במס' ברכות פ' הרואה שהרי פירש"י באמת איש באמת עוג עד"י ב"א. וי"מ ערשו שנבריי"ש בלע"ז לשון המוטל בעריסה: – רבות מחשבות Jan 5 '18 at 21:11
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I would suggest that the simple answer is that the Midrash was attempting to give the feeling of chopping down a tree, that Mosheh had hacked at Og's feet, and down he fell. (I am the source for that.

(I would also note that we do not know if Mosheh's staff was 10 Amos tall, and the matching numbers seem to be an important part of this Midrash.)

There are many, many interpretations of this in the Mefarshei Agados, I will quote a few of the symbolisms they say:

Maharsha (here) - the merit of the tablets

ר"ל דשקל נרגא כו' היינו זכות הלוחות שהיו בידו שבהן י' דברות

Likutei Moharan Tinyana Torah 8 - a tool that was used in the creation of the world

שקל נרגא בת עשר אמין. נרגא, זה בחי' כלי מלאכה של מעשה בראשית. וזהו בת עשר אמין, בחי' עשרה מאמרות שבהם נברא העולם, שהם בחי' כלי מלאכה של מעשה בראשית. כי ע"י נבואה זוכין לאמונה, שהיא בחי' עשרה מאמרות, שהם כלי מלאכה של מעשה בראשית. כי ע"י אמונה, מאמינים בחידוש העולם, שהש"י ברא הכל בעשרה מאמרות כנ"ל

Toldos Yitzchak Bamidbar 21:33 - the merit of the nation accompanying him

והנרגא שלקח רמז לזכות העם בכללו שהיו שם עמו, ומפני שהיו שם עמו המשילם לכלי המושם בידו שהיה פועל בו

None of these symbolisms or merits are expressed by the Mateh/staff.

Commenters - Please add (just edit them in) some quotes from other Agadah sources - I'm thinking that you would find other interpretations in Benayahu/Ben Yehoyada, Rav Kook, etc, but I don't have access to those Sefarim.

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