Aaron’s Rod as the State of Israel (Numbers 17: 16-25)
In Numbers 16 the earth swallows up Korach’s jealous haters (who mistook selfless service for selfish entitlement), as well as the anti-aliya rebels-for-any-cause Dathan and Aviram ( לא נעלה Lo N’[A]LeH in 16:12). This miraculous but angry, instant and violent intervention did not solve the crisis. (See the Korach You Tube of Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks). What finally settles the leadership dispute by the wannabes (who symbolize the future forces of Replacement Theology), is the slow, non-violent, positive, even Green undeniable eloquence of the miracle of Aaron’s Rod, מטה אהרן MaDTeH AHaRoaN.
By the Almighty’s command, the sturdy walking sticks of the heads of all the tribes are to be marked and gathered overnight in the sacred Tent of Meeting. The next morning, the staff (long-dead tree branch) of the chosen tribe will miraculously have come to life, have sprouted buds, blossoms and botanical produce.
This was undeniably the sign of the Creator of Life. Such a miracle recalls Aaron’s Rod becoming a snake, which swallowed the charmed snakes (fake staffs) of Pharoahs’ magicians. But this sign and wonder is supremely powerful because it answers strife with positive pleasantness, with life and growth. Non-coincidently, “Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peaceful” precedes “she is a TREE OF LIFE to those who grasp her” (Proverbs 3:17 and 18).
Every tribe puts in their staff. מטה MaDTaH means both tribe and staff, as a rod is a branch or offshoot of people. (Similarly, שבט SHeyBHeDT is also both a "tribe" (Numbers 24:2) or a branch. A SEPT is an old Irish clan or tribe, for example, and שבט SHeyBHeDT is behind SCEPTER, STAFF, STAVE and SWITCH (the whipping branch). *
Again, the tribes of Israel are a metaphor for the world’s peoples, and the landless, teacher tribe of Levi is a metaphor of the wandering Jews. But, since 1948, the Jews have returned to their Promised Land. More than the Jews waited for Israel, Israel waited for the Jews. The land was a barren wasteland with a malarial swamp, keeping squatters away. Read the stark testimony of travelers like Mark Twain. But today, Israel is the world’s only country with more trees than it had in the 19th century. It is an agricultural superpower and exporter, growing even South American coffee and bananas, Chinese lychee, Iraqui dates, etc.
Aaron’s rod sprouted blossoms and almonds. The challenging tribes dropped their jaws and complaints. One day the Black Hebrews, orthodox Catholics, liberal BDS Protestants, militant peaceniks and sundry Lost Tribe claimants will be impressed enough with the miracle of Israel’s resurrection to agree to be served by a tiny tribe whom they finally come to understand is not claiming superiority. A new generation of Torah-literate Israelis will humbly display their god-given role as role models.
Even many children of Ishmael will finally be satisfied with their vast superiority in numbers and acres, and conclude that tolerating, benefiting from this tiny miracle is more productive than wasting trillions, (defying the Koran,) and vainly attempting to destroy her.
May the minor, often-overlooked episode of Aaron’s Rod become a blooming walking stick with which to progress forward towards a new world of peace.