Manna From Heaven

Around three million Jews are in the desert. It is just over a week after their exodus from Egypt. And they are hungry. Very hungry. The way they satiate themselves becomes a paradigm for future generations of Jews.

G-d announces that He will take care of all the gastronomic needs of the Children of Israel while they are in the desert by raining “manna” on them every day. Each Jew would only need to walk out of their homes, pick up the manna, and bring it back to prepare.

And the next day, just as G-d said, the manna was there for them on the ground, protected by a layer of dew. It was there the next day, too. And the next. On Friday a double-portion appeared, so that the Children of Israel could prepare food for Shabbos, as no manna would be falling on Shabbos.

Some say this was G-d’s greatest miracle, and they base it on G-d’s own response: He instructed Moses to take a certain amount of the manna and place it in a container in order that future generations would see the manna with which G-d fed the Jews during their 40 years in the desert.

So how does this affect my life today, in the year 5782/2022?

Because the setup is still the same: G-d provides us with whatever we need to survive. G-d wants us to go to work, but the connection between work and reward is tenuous – if it exists at all. Think of a parent who tells his child that if he finishes his math homework he will get a reward of his favorite ice cream cone. The kid does the math homework and the parent gives him the ice cream. But was there really any connection between solving functions for X and the ice cream? Writing the numbers and figures on the paper didn’t create the ice cream.

A Rabbi is waiting at a train station in Europe when a rich businessman recognizes him. “Rabbi, where are you going?” Warsaw” responds the Rabbi. “The train is leaving soon, Rabbi. You ought to board now.” “I agree, but I don’t have a ticket or money to buy one.” “WHAT?” asked the incredulous businessman, “so how do you plan to get to Warsaw?” “G-d will provide.” The Rabbi continued to wait patiently near the gate, but the businessman was agitated beyond belief. “How can you rely on G-d to provide you with a ticket in the next few minutes?!” he continued to prod. “I do not know, but I trust that G-d will provide me with all my needs. I need to get to Warsaw, so He will provide me with a way of getting there.” After a few more minutes, the businessman could not take it anymore – especially since the Rabbi was so calm and cool. He raced to the ticket counter, bought a ticket to Warsaw, and ran back to the Rabbi. “Here is your ticket to Warsaw” he said, handing the ticket to the Rabbi. “See! I told you G-d would provide!”

G-d rained manna in the desert so that we would understand how He can and does provide for all our needs – from back then until today, and into the future. We may not always see how G-d works to provide us with what we need, but we can rest assured that he is always there, ensuring to take care of our needs, whether directly or through agents.

Parshas Beshalach. The time when the Jews first received the manna and truly learned how G-d provides for all their needs all the time.

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