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Moshe a magician?


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#1 markoscore

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 03:55 PM

How do we know Moshe was not the best magician in history?

#2 spectra

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 04:10 PM

When Moses struck the rock for a second time. He was not permitted to enter the promised land. It is by God's will, not Moses.

#3 LoveToLaugh

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 11:49 PM

How do we know Moshe was not the best magician in history?

Is this a riddle or a question?
God, grant us the...
Serenity to accept things we cannot change,
Courage to change the things we can, and the
Wisdom to know the difference
Patience for the things that take time
Appreciation for all that we have, and
Tolerance for those with different struggles
Freedom to live beyond the limitations of our past ways, the
Ability to feel your love for us and our love for each other and the
Strength to get up and try again even when we feel it is hopeless.

#4 Diogenes The Cynic

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 12:00 AM

How do we know Moshe was not the best magician in history?


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#5 adiel

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 07:46 AM

How do we know Moshe was not the best magician in history?


It would be a good guess to assume that your proposing the famous question about the Torah being written by man as opposed to God. I'll try to skip that and take a stab at actually answering the question.

1) Even if we believed in magic, we don't believe that some of the things done by Moshe in Egypt could be done by magic.
2) We actually heard God speak to us by Har Sinai. And we asked that Moshe by His emissary for communication. Anything done by Moshe was a result of a command by God.
3) I'm sure there are a dozen other ways to explain it...I'll leave some room for others.
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#6 33948

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 09:50 AM

God was an extraterrestrial. The aliens gave moshe advanced technology. Don't you watch the history channel?

#7 moe says

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 01:33 PM

How do we know Moshe was not the best magician in history?

There is a story in tanna d'vei eliyahu about a man who came to learn from hillel hazaken (I think a goy, but that's not really the relevant point- the point is that he was entirely uneducated). The medrash relates that Hillel proceded to teach the man alef bais. The man came back later, and Hillel pointed to (what he had taught him was) a bais, and said, "this is an alef." The man responded, "no, this is a bais." Hillel said, "but how do you know that it's a bais? because I taught it to you, so listen to me, it's an alef." I wish I had the seifer on hand, and I will b'ezras Hashem look it up, but iirc this was intended as a lesson regarding torah shebaal peh.

It relates to your question as follows. How do we know anything about Moshe Rabbeinu? We only know about Moshe Rabbeinu because of the torah, and he is quite clearly described not as a "magician," The entire exodus from egypt is the ultimate story of the triumph of the Creator, over the powers of magic, which is seen as the defining characteristic of Egypt in chazal.
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#8 moe says

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 01:59 PM

There is a story in tanna d'vei eliyahu about a man who came to learn from hillel hazaken (I think a goy, but that's not really the relevant point- the point is that he was entirely uneducated). The medrash relates that Hillel proceded to teach the man alef bais. The man came back later, and Hillel pointed to (what he had taught him was) a bais, and said, "this is an alef." The man responded, "no, this is a bais." Hillel said, "but how do you know that it's a bais? because I taught it to you, so listen to me, it's an alef." I wish I had the seifer on hand, and I will b'ezras Hashem look it up, but iirc this was intended as a lesson regarding torah shebaal peh.

It relates to your question as follows. How do we know anything about Moshe Rabbeinu? We only know about Moshe Rabbeinu because of the torah, and he is quite clearly described not as a "magician," The entire exodus from egypt is the ultimate story of the triumph of the Creator, over the powers of magic, which is seen as the defining characteristic of Egypt in chazal.

the story is in avos d'rebbe noson 15:3 with some variation, but the basic general idea.
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#9 Shemmy

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 07:09 PM

1) Even if we believed in magic, we don't believe that some of the things done by Moshe in Egypt could be done by magic.


How are we defining "magic." If we mean "thaumaturgy," then no, we do not accept the notion that Moshe Rabbenou did anything in Egypt using magic. If, on the other hand we mean "theurgy" (see Derech Hashem regarding this), then yes, we can say moshe Rabbenou used magic.

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#10 moe says

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 08:33 PM

How are we defining "magic." If we mean "thaumaturgy," then no, we do not accept the notion that Moshe Rabbenou did anything in Egypt using magic. If, on the other hand we mean "theurgy" (see Derech Hashem regarding this), then yes, we can say moshe Rabbenou used magic.

the juxtaposition of moshe's action with "vya'asu hachartumim ken blahateihon" would suggest otherwise, imho.
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#11 Shemmy

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 10:10 PM

the juxtaposition of moshe's action with "vya'asu hachartumim ken blahateihon" would suggest otherwise, imho.


Which is why I asked to clarify the word "magic," in order to determine if we're speaking of thaumaturgy or theurgy, and why I referenced the Ramhal.

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#12 moe says

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 10:40 AM

Which is why I asked to clarify the word "magic," in order to determine if we're speaking of thaumaturgy or theurgy, and why I referenced the Ramhal.

I have no idea what you are talking about. But, what paroah's magicians did with incantations, Moshe seems to have done with a physical action. Throwing a staff on the floor is not any kind of magic, hitting a river, likewise. These actions were poel nissim because Moshe was acting as HKB"H's shaliach, and under his directive.


Just thinking now, that maybe that was part of moshe's reluctance by the sela.


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#13 LAGoff

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 12:48 AM

I wonder about the bronze/copper snake. What exactly redeems his use of it- since using it seems too easy to draw wrong conclusion?.

#14 Shemmy

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 06:52 PM

I have no idea what you are talking about.


Which is why I made a reference to Derech Hashem by the Ramhal.

But, what paroah's magicians did with incantations, Moshe seems to have done with a physical action. Throwing a staff on the floor is not any kind of magic, hitting a river, likewise. These actions were poel nissim because Moshe was acting as HKB"H's shaliach, and under his directive.


So the magicans of Egypt (whom, according to Aggada, were granted most of the shares of magic in the world) used thaumagurgy. Moshe rabbenou, on the other hand, acting in God's name, could have been said to be practicing theurgy. We don't know what went on behind the scenes, because the Torah did not elucidate. We do know that Moshe rabbenou was given God's name, and that he was to do "God's wonders."

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#15 moe says

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 09:31 AM

are you really still stuck on this?

sorry, but attribution for exodus from egypt is quite clearly given to God, not moshe.
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#16 Moshi

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 02:32 PM

There is a story in tanna d'vei eliyahu about a man who came to learn from hillel hazaken (I think a goy, but that's not really the relevant point- the point is that he was entirely uneducated). The medrash relates that Hillel proceded to teach the man alef bais. The man came back later, and Hillel pointed to (what he had taught him was) a bais, and said, "this is an alef." The man responded, "no, this is a bais." Hillel said, "but how do you know that it's a bais? because I taught it to you, so listen to me, it's an alef." I wish I had the seifer on hand, and I will b'ezras Hashem look it up, but iirc this was intended as a lesson regarding torah shebaal peh.


iirc it's also a gemara in Shabbos.
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