The Lost Staff of IsraelFebruary 24, 2013 - 5:00 am
“The Lord will extend your mighty sceptre from Zion, saying,
‘Rule in the midst of your enemies!’”—Psalm 110:2
Many objects that once belonged to the Jewish people have long disappeared since biblical times. The Holy Ark and the menorah that were once in the Holy Temple are perhaps among the most well-known examples. One lesser known item is a simple, yet special staff.
Jewish tradition teaches that the staff Moses used when he parted the Red Sea so the Israelites could leave Egypt originally belonged to Jacob. It was kept in the hands of the rulers of Israel all the way to the time of King David, through his dynasty until the destruction of the First Temple. According to tradition, the staff will once again reappear in the End Times.
The Sages teach that this is more than just an interesting sidebar about Jewish history; it also tells the story of Jewish history. A staff is a sign of authority. So in essence, while the staff was in the hands of the Jewish people, they experienced the kind of autonomy and independence that Jacob enjoyed while he lived in Egypt, that Moses had as he broke the yoke of slavery, and that the Davidic dynasty maintained until the end of the First Temple period.
It’s no mistake that the staff has been lost ever since. Until recently, the Jewish people had never really enjoyed that kind of freedom again. Instead, they are the survivors of endless oppression and persecution.
Here we stand at a juncture in history when all that is changing. Indeed this time is hinted at in Psalms 110 when it says: “The LORD will extend your mighty sceptre from Zion, saying, ‘Rule in the midst of your enemies!’” The psalmist foresaw that the staff, or sceptre, would return to Israel once again.