Thursday, January 18, 2007

Harry Potter themes in the Torah portion of Va'era

The book Harry Potter and Torah discusses a Torah perspective on magic wands, many examples of which appear in this week's Torah portion, Va'era:

Moses's staff is used to perform many of the plagues in Egypt, similar to a magic wand's performing magic. This staff is referred to as "the staff of G-d" which Onkolus's interpretive translation calls "the staff by which G-d worked miracles" (Ex 7:9). Moses also uses his staff to perform magic in front of Pharoah.

In several of the plagues G-d commands Moses or Aaron to raise their hands, but the Torah says that they raised their staffs. Clearly they knew that the staff was an inherent part of their ability to perform the miracle. (See Ibn Ezra on Ex 9:22 and Ha'amek Davar on Ex 9:23.)

We'll see more miracles from Moses's staff in next week's Torah portion, as the plagues continue, and then at the splitting of the sea as the Jews leave Egypt.

For more on magic wands and other Torah perspectives on themes from Harry Potter, see Harry Potter and Torah.

No comments: