Vol 31.13 - Beshalach 3 Spanish French Audio Video
Manna — An Eternal Bread
At the conclusion of Beshallach, the Torah describes the manna, the heavenly bread that was the Jews’ staple during our 40-year sojourn in the desert. Included in the tale are the facts that the manna did not descend on Shabbos, and that a portion was sequestered as an eternal keepsake.
The Zohar comments that although the manna did not descend on Shabbos, it was on that day that it was blessed from above, so that it would descend during the following six days of the week. Why was the blessing secured on a day when the manna did not fall? Evidently there is an intrinsic connection between Shabbos and the manna.
Earlier on, Rashi comments on the verse “In the morning you shall behold G‑d’s glory,” as follows: “When it the manna descends in the morning, you will behold the glory of His illumined countenance. For He shall cause it to descend unto you in a loving manner — in the morning, when there is time to prepare it, and when it is sandwiched in dew.”
We thus see that not only did the Jewish people receive the “heavenly bread” with a minimum of effort, but also that it was provided by G‑d in a “loving manner,” so as to further minimize the labor involved in obtaining it.
The manna is thus entirely similar to Shabbos, the day granted by G‑d for the purpose of rest, tranquillity and delight.
Although the manna did not descend on Shabbos so as to assure that the day be one of complete rest (and a double portion therefore descended on Friday), the centrality of the Shabbos theme to the manna was such that the blessing from above that it descend during the six weekdays came about on the day of rest.
In light of the above we can better understand why the manna was secluded together with the ark for an everlasting remembrance. In doing so the Torah provides an eternal lesson to all Jews with regard to the procurement of sustenance: even when a Jew must toil for his daily bread, his sustenance still contains something of the manna.
A Jew’s sustenance is directly commensurate with his degree of spiritual service — “If you follow My commandments, I shall provide rain in its proper time.” Understandably, since a human being’s service is limited, the sustenance he receives must be limited as well.
The other nations of the world, however, receive sustenance independent of their spiritual service. It therefore follows that their sustenance is not subject to the limitations imposed upon the Jew.
But this limitation only applies to the quantity of the sustenance. With regard to the quality of G‑d’s beneficence, the Jewish people have the advantage, inasmuch as G‑d provides our livelihood in a “loving manner” and with the “glory of His illumined countenance.”
G‑d does so, because the Jewish people are ready to forego the greater quantity of sustenance that we could have obtained in the manner of the other nations, and opt to receive our nurture directly from G‑d in accordance with our spiritual activity.
This quality was clearly seen in the manna. On the one hand the manna was strictly limited in quantity — an omer per person. Yet this limited amount was provided by G‑d in a “loving manner,” with delight and with the “glory of His illumined countenance.”
And just as G‑d endowed the manna with a vesture of His delight, so too with regard to the Jewish people, who received G‑d’s bounty with delight.
Thus the manna was not only received without toil, but the Jewish people were also able to taste within it any flavor we desired. Moreover, along with the manna there also descended many kinds of precious jewels — the main purpose of which is to stimulate joy and delight.
Based on Likkutei Sichos , Vol. XXXI, pp. 85-91.
1. In our Parsha (Ex. 16:44 ff.), close to the conclusion of the chapter of the Manna –
after telling the details of the falling of the Manna and the manner of its gathering, and the details of the events of Friday and Shabbat, that on Friday they gathered a double portion (לחם משנה) and that on Shabbat the Manna did not fall –
until the conclusion of the subject that “the people rested on the seventh day” it states:
“The house of Israel named it Manna, and it was like coriander seed, [it was] white, and it tasted like a wafer with honey”.
And afterwards came the command to place it (before G-d) “to be preserved for your generations etc.”
One must understand:
It is not understood:
Immediately when Bnei Yisroel saw the Manna at the first time they examined it and said “to one another: ‘It is Manna’” and as Rashi states they meant that it was a “preparation of food”.
However, at that time, it was not applicable to call it a name, as the verse states “because they did not know what it was” and Rashi states: “They did not know how . . to call it by its name”.
Therefore what was innovated to them, in the interim, that caused them to know and decide to call it by the name “Man”?
[For this was the intent of the command of “to be preserved for your generations“ as Rashi explains that:
“In the days of Jeremiah, when Jeremiah rebuked them, [[saying] “Why do you not engage in the Torah?” They would say . . ‘From what will we support ourselves?’ He brought out to them the jug of Manna. He said to them, ‘You see the word of the L-rd. With this, your ancestors supported themselves. The Omnipresent has many agents to prepare food for those who fear Him’”].
and not afterwards so much so that it was after the details of the events of Friday and Shabbat.
Therefore one must say that the events between the beginning of the falling of the Manna to the conclusion of the Parsha, including Friday and Shabbat – “brought them” to the understanding of the nature () of the Manna, and therefore, the choosing and setting of its name. Therefore even the verse waits until now to describe and command to “preserve it for your generations”.
2. One could say that the gist of the explanation of this is:
The details of Friday and Shabbat are not an additional and incidental matter in the aspect of the Manna, but they are integral to the essential nature of the Manna.
In our case: the scope (גדרו) of this food necessitated that it not fall on Shabbat.
In other words:
The reason that the Manna did not fall on Shabbat was not just because of the Shabbat prohibitions that were connected to the gathering of the Manna and its preparation,
(for according to this, it is
(just an incidental aspect and)
“a lion that crouches on it” (אריא הוא דרביע עלי׳) and prevents its falling on Shabbat)
(Note: “a lion that crouches on it” is a metaphor for a valid object that cannot be used on account of a Rabbinical prohibition. For example: like an ordinary open door that cannot be used on account of a ‘lion that crouched beside it’)
but that this is because of the Manna (itself), that the essential aspect of the Manna obligates that it not fall on Shabbat (as will be explanation in Par. 4 and onward).
According to this, we find that until Shabbat (for at that time, the Manna did not fall, and they ate the Lechem Mishneh/Double Portion that fell on Friday) the purpose of the Manna had not yet been completed.
And this is the gist of the reason that the calling of the name “Man” by Bnei Yisroel was only after “they rested on the seventh day”.
The reason that in the beginning they said “it is Manna/מן הוא“ (“a preparation of food”) was not in the realm of giving it a name, but (on the contrary) – because of the lack of knowledge (“they did not know what it was . . to call it by its name“), since this was immediately at the beginning of its inception and they still did not know the nature of this food and its composition. Therefore they just said “it is Manna/מן הוא“, namely that it comprised a “preparation of food”.
And only after the completion of a full (week) cycle of the falling of the Manna (and specifically – the two parts of this – the falling during the weekdays and the cessation of its falling on Shabbat) – did Bnei Yisroel come to the realization (they knew) and recognition of what the Manna was, and they were able to call it by a name (that depicts its nature and essence).
And this is also the reason that the description of the Manna (“like coriander seed etc.“), and the command to “preserve it for your generations” was specifically mentioned in the verse after the story concerning the absence and cessation of its falling on Shabbat –
In the beginning, the verse concludes the story concerning the falling of the Manna (for this coincides with the story concerning the cessation of the falling of the Manna on Shabbat, as aforementioned) and afterwards came the description of the Manna itself (and at the end – the command for generations).
3. The aforementioned aspect, namely that the cessation of the falling of the Manna on Shabbat, was not due to the prohibitions of Shabbat, is understood and necessary according to the view of Rashi in his commentary on Torah. For it appears that he holds, that the entire aspect of Shabbat was only innovated at the time of the falling of the Manna:
After Bnei Yisroel gathered the Manna many days, on Friday they gathered Lechem Mishneh/a Double Portion and then “and all the princes of the community came and reported to Moses.” Rashi explains there that:
“They reported to Moses: They asked him, “Why is this day different from other days?” From here we can deduce that Moses had not yet told them the section regarding the Shabbat that he was commanded to tell them, [namely:] “And it will come about on the sixth day that they shall prepare, etc.” (verse 5) until they asked him this [question]”.
These words are puzzling, for it is clearly explained in a previous commentary of Rashi that the “section regarding the Shabbat was given to them at Marah”.
Therefore what place is there for the question “Why is this day different from other days”? In other words that the princes of the community did not at all know concerning the uniqueness of Friday, where they were required to prepare Shabbat foods etc. so much so that they wondered “Why is this day different from other days” and Moshe needed to tell them and innovate that “Tomorrow is a rest day, a holy Shabbat to the L-rd. Bake . . and cook whatever you wish to cook etc.”?
However, this question is answered by Rashi himself. For he writes that at Marah “He gave them some sections of the Torah so that they would busy themselves with them, such as the laws governing the Shabbat etc.” in other words, at Marah, they were not commanded (according to Rashi‘s view) regarding Shabbat but rather they were just given the section of Shabbat so that that they should occupy themselves with it (learning the section). For at that time there was no aspect of practically keeping Shabbat (and it was just the study of the section of Shabbat in the Torah) – therefore they asked him “Why is this day different from other days“.
According to this one could answer another thing that is not understood:
In the flow of the verses, it is told that even after Moshe informed Bnei Yisroel that “Tomorrow is a rest day, a holy Shabbat to the L-rd “, and “(the Manna) “will not be on it [Shabbat]” that “some of the people went out to gather [Manna]”.
The going out into the field for the purpose of gathering the Manna, was certainly with utensils to bring the Manna into their homes. Therefore we find that they transgressed with this going out – the prohibition of carrying (on Shabbat) (איסור הוצאה)?
And one cannot answer that this is the intent of G-d’s statement to Moshe:
“How long will you refuse to observe My commandments and My teachings? See that the L-rd has given you the Shabbat etc. Therefore, . . Let each man remain in his place; let no man leave his place on the seventh day”
namely that with this, they transgressed “observe My commandments” – for from the simple understanding of the verse (the wording of the verses) it appears that only after they went out to gather, that they were commanded “Let each man remain in his place; let no man leave“, namely that they should not go out to gather the Manna on Shabbat
(For in the previous verses it just states that the Manna would not be there (on Shabbat), but not that an (explicit) prohibition came to exclude them from gathering).
Therefore we find that Bnei Yisroel did not transgress G-d’s command.
[And the intent of the G-d’s statement “How long will you refuse etc.” is (not that Bnei Yisroel transgressed G-d’s command, but rather that) they were just the lacking faith. For since they saw that G-d is giving them a double portion (לחם משנה) on Friday, and saying the reason explicitly that on Shabbat “you will not find it in the field. . on it (Shabbat) there will be none“, therefore there was no need to go into the field to find the Manna].
And it is puzzling. Since Moshe already told them that “Tomorrow is a rest day, a holy Shabbat to the L-rd ” they were prohibited from going out to gather the Manna on Shabbat because of the prohibition of carrying. (And even if they did not find it in the field, nevertheless, they took out vessels, as aforementioned)?
However according to the aforementioned, one could say:
According to Pshat, the command for the observance of Shabbat, completely, did not come until Matan Torah. And although here, regarding the Manna, it was told to them that “Tomorrow is a rest day, a holy Shabbat to the L-rd “ – this was not a command for the complete observance of Shabbat, but rather just regarding its observance in the areas that are related to the gathering of the Manna and its preparation. Therefore, since in the beginning Bnei Yisroel were just told regarding the prohibition of baking and cooking, they (still) were not prohibited from carrying from domain to domain etc., and they were permitted, according to the law, to go out etc. Only afterwards, when G-d explicitly told them “Let each man remain in his place; let no man leave etc.“, did it become prohibited for them in this.
4. We therefore learn from this, that the explanation of the matter is not that the prohibitions of Shabbat caused that the Manna did not fall on Shabbat (for at the time of the beginning of the falling of the Manna, Yisroel was not prohibited in Shabbat labors (במלאכת שבת), but it is the opposite. The essence of the aspect of the Manna is that which caused that Yisroel were given the Mitzvot of Shabbat (at least in the labors that were connected to the gathering of the Manna and its preparation).
In simplicity it is possible to explain this according to Rashi in his commentary on the verse:
“Behold! I am going to rain down for you bread from Heaven . . so that I can test them, whether or not they will follow My teaching.”
where he writes:
“Whether they will keep the commandments contingent upon it, [i.e.,] that they will not leave any of it over, and that they will not go out on the Shabbat to gather [the Manna]”.
Thus, one of the tests of the Manna (that “G-d rained down bread from Heaven “in order to test them“) was in the aspect of gathering it on Shabbat.
But this itself requires a reason:
What is the supposition that the test of the Manna was specifically in the aspect of Shabbat?
Especially (according to the aforementioned) that this was the reason that Shabbat was given at that time to Yisroel?
That accordingly one must say that the essence of the nature of the Manna is connected with the essence of the nature of Shabbat.
One could say that the explanation in this is:
Previously in the verse: “And [in the] morning, you shall see the glory of the L-rd”, Rashi states: ”As for the bread, which you requested out of necessity . . you shall see the glory of the radiance of His countenance. For He will bring it down to you lovingly (דרך חיבה), in the morning, when there is time to prepare it, and with dew over it and dew under it as if it were lying in a box.”
From this it is understood that, besides the general innovation of the giving of the Manna –
that it was “bread from heaven” that Bnei Yisroel obtained without any bother (טירחא) (at least not with the bother that is entailed with bread from the earth) –
in addition to this, this itself was given to them by G-d in a manner of “a loving manner” (דרך חיבה), to minimize, however possible, the bother of Bnei Yisroel in obtaining this food.
We therefore find that the scope (גדר) of the aspect of the Manna is one with the aspect of Shabbat – for the Manna is the bread that is given to Bnei Yisroel in a manner of rest, tranquility and delight. (שביתה ומנוחה ותענוג) without any bother or effort on their part (ללא טירחא ויגיעה מצדם).
Therefore the completeness of the dearness (החיבה) in the giving of the Manna is in this, namely that together with the giving of the Manna, G-d gave to Bnei Yisroel the Shabbat. And in a manner of: “See, that the L-rd has given you the Shabbat” (as Rashi states) “See: with your own eyes that the L-rd in His glory warns you about the Shabbat , for this miracle was performed every Shabbat eve, to give you bread for two days.”. In other words, that their sustenance is given to them completely on Friday, in order that on the day of Shabbat, they should have complete rest (מנוחה שלימה), without any bother or worry for their food on this day.
5. According to this, the flow of the verses is understood. For only after the story of the aspect of Shabbat (“the people rested on the seventh day“) – then “They .. named it Manna“.
For this name depicts the aspect of the unbounded pleasure in it (העונג בלתי מוגבל שבו), for “each of Yisroel tasted in it anything that he wanted without restriction – therefore it could not be described with a limited description, and they just had to call it “Man”, a “preparation of food“– and the recognition of the aspect of the “pleasure” in the Manna came to completion only after “the people rested on the seventh day“.
And the verse continues to emphasize the great pleasure in the Manna (as it states that) “And it tasted like a wafer with honey.’(For only then did they feel complete pleasure in the Manna).
And afterward came the command to “preserve it for your generations”. For in the “preserve it for your generations” it was necessary to know that that the Manna was given in such a manner that,
not only during the six days of the week was the labor involved with it -minimal, but also that
when Shabbat approached, G-d prepared their sustenance from Erev Shabbat (Friday), in a manner that they had complete rest and tranquility on Shabbat as it states “the people rested on the seventh day“. With this came the completeness of knowledge and recognition (so much so that it was in a manner of “seeing” – “in order that they see the bread“) that G-d is able to sustain Yisroel in a manner that they do not need to engage in any labor and that they are able to keep (and occupy themselves with) the Torah with complete tranquility (במנוחה גמורה).
6. This explanation regarding the connection of the aspect of the Manna to Shabbat – exactly corresponds (עולה בקנה אחד) with the words of the Zohar, that even though the Manna did not fall on Shabbat, this only pertained to its falling and flowing into this world. However Above it is the opposite – namely that the blessing of the Manna was specifically on the day of Shabbat, as it states: “all the days are blessed from it” – that through this blessing on Shabbat, the Manna fell down on the six days of the coming week.
This seemingly requires explanation. Since “He sanctified it (Shabbat) through the Manna for it did not descend at all on Shabbat” why was its Supernal blessing specifically on the day of Shabbat?
However, according to the aforementioned it is understood. Since the aspect of the Manna is the effluence of sustenance in a manner of pleasure (תענוג) “with a smiling countenance . . lovingly (דרך חיבה)“. Therefore the proper time for this effluence (השפעה) is specifically on the day of Shabbat, for that is the time of rest and pleasure (מנוחה ועונג).
7. In addition to that which the entire Torah is eternal, one could say that the reason that the physical Manna was “preserved for your generations“– eternal -
(And like the saying of the Sages that it was hidden with the Ark) –
Is because it possesses a unique emphasis of a property whose content is constantly within each and every Jew.
In other words, even when a person’s sustenance is “bread from the earth”, and in a manner that he himself must bother with it,
(as it states: many did like R’ Yishmael – that it must be ‘and you shall gather your grain etc.’ (Note: i.e. Torah study combined with a worldly occupation) and it worked out well for them) –
nevertheless, even with this sustenance there exists the essential aspect of the Manna.
The aspect in this is:
The difference between the Yisroel and the nations is known. For the nations of the world are bestowed with a multitude of effluence (ריבוי השפעה), since for them, the effluence is not with accountability (חשבון), and it comes to them “free – from Mitzvot” (חנם - מן המצות) meaning without (spiritual) Avodah. Therefore the effluence is with multitude, since it is not dependent on their Avodah. Whereas the effluence to Yisroel is a measured effluence (השפעה מדודה), for they are sustained according to their Avodah, as it states “If you follow My commandments, I shall provide rain in its proper time.” And since the effluence is with accountability, therefore it is a measured and bounded effluence (השפעה מוגבלת ומדודה), commensurate with their Avodah (of Yisroel).
However, the multitude of the effluence that pertains to the nations is just a multitude in quantity. However, it does not contain pleasure (עונג). And in the words of Tanya, G-d dispenses life to them “in the manner of one who reluctantly throws something over his shoulder to his enemy; without his will”.
However, regarding G-d’s effluence to Bnei Yisroel, even though the effluence is measured, nevertheless this effluence contains pleasure (תענוג), including Supernal pleasure (תענוג דלמעלה), meaning that G-d has pleasure from the effluence to Bnei Yisroel, His close nation and “In the light of the King's countenance is life” (באור פני מלך חיים).
And this is also the virtue of Yisroel that they choose G-d (בוחרים בהקב״ה). In other words that they forego the multitude of the effluence that they are able to receive in the manner of the nations of the world, and they choose to receive their vitality and effluence specifically from the side of Holiness, even though it is measured. For only with this effluence is there Supernal pleasure -“In the light of the King's countenance is life”.
8. And this virtue in the effluence to Yisroel comes into expression and revelation in the aspect of the Manna:
On one side, the Manna did not contain a multitude in quantity. On the contrary, the Manna was given in a very exact measure: only for one day (at a time), and just an Omer per each person, (as it states) the one who had gathered too much had not exceeded an Omer, and the one who had gathered too little did not find less than an Omer.
However, on the other hand this Omer was given “with a smiling countenance . . lovingly“, for Bnei Yisroel saw “glory of the light of His countenance“ (in the “light of the King's countenance is life“).
And just as it is concerning the “Above” (ה״למעלה״), namely that in the effluence, which is from the side of holiness - Supernal pleasure is enclothed in it – so to it is with regard to Yisroel (the recipients of the effluence) - that the effluence is received by them in a manner of pleasure. And this came visibly and plainly in the Manna. For besides that which they received it without any bother, they (also) tasted in the Manna any taste that they wanted. And in addition to this, together with the Manna, there fell to them precious stones and pearls whose (primary) purpose is just for pleasure.
Therefore, the Manna did not fall on Shabbat (even though the blessing of the Manna, Above, is specifically on Shabbat, as aforementioned). For the purpose of enclothing pleasure into this effluence, is to effect in Yisroel the aspect of pleasure (ענין העונג). Therefore specifically through this, that Shabbat contains the blessing for the effluence of the Manna, this effects that the Manna did not fall to Yisroel on Shabbat, in a manner that the rest of Yisroel (שמנוחת ישראל) on the Shabbat say should be in epitome of completeness.
And this is one of the explanations in the difference between Yisroel and the nations regarding Shabbat. For Bnei Yisroel are obligated to observe Shabbat, whereas the nations who observe Shabbat are deserving of the penalty of death. For regarding Yisroel, since the main aspect of their effluence is the aspect of pleasure, therefore it causes and brings the person’s pleasure, into a day of rest and pleasure (יום מנוחה ותענוג).
[And it is also the opposite: in order for a Jewish person to be a receptacle to receive this effluence, there must be the aspect of resting from work (השביתה ממלאכה)].
Whereas regarding the nations, that G-d provides for them “in the manner of one who reluctantly throws . . without his will”, the aspect of the “desire” and rest (ה״רצון״ והמנוחה) is negated, and there is specifically effort and bother (יגיעה וטירחא דוקא).
And this is also the eternal lesson from the aspect of the Manna for all generations (“preserve it for your generations“ ):
For a Jewish person, the beauty of the effluence (יקר ההשפעה) must be from the side of holiness that is in a manner of “light of the King's countenance is life“. Even if because of this, one needs to forgo the multitude of the effluence that comes from “throwing it over his shoulder“. And specifically through this one attains true rest and pleasure (מנוחה ועונג האמיתי).
And the little (קמעא) in physicality, in the beginning, immediately is blessed with satiation (מתברך לשובע), so much so that one merits, at the very onset – an expanse of sustenance (מזוני רויחי), a multitude of physical sustenance, so much so that it is a multitude of effluence that was like in “that time” and as is explained and elucidated and specified in Ramban, in the conclusion and culmination of his Sefer – may it come speedily and in our time, mamosh.
MSichas Shabbat Parshat Beshalach 5728
Shabbat Parshat Bechukotai 5746
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