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The Introduction of the Manna in Parshat B'Shalach

וּבְנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל אָֽכְל֤וּ אֶת־הַמָּן֙ אַרְבָּעִ֣ים שָׁנָ֔ה עַד־בֹּאָ֖ם אֶל־אֶ֣רֶץ נוֹשָׁ֑בֶת אֶת־הַמָּן֙ אָֽכְל֔וּ עַד־בֹּאָ֕ם אֶל־קְצֵ֖ה אֶ֥רֶץ כְּנָֽעַן:

And the children of Israel ate the manna for forty years until they came to an inhabited land. They ate the manna until they came to the border of the land of Canaan.

In Parshat B'Shalach, the introduction of manna as a source of sustenance for Bnei Yisrael in the desert serves as a testament to God's provisions for His people. Manna, which literally means "What is it?" in Hebrew, was a mysterious substance that fell from the sky each morning to provide food for Bnei Yisrael. It was a unique food that had no known precedent, and it symbolized God's commitment to providing for His people's needs.

Rashi says that the manna as a supernatural food that was provided to Bnei Yisrael as a means of sustaining them during their journey in the desert. According to Rashi, the manna was a test for Bnei Yisrael to see if they would trust in God's provision or if they would turn to their own resources. He also notes that the manna had the ability to taste like whatever the person eating it desired, as a way of demonstrating God's concern for each individual's needs.

The Ramban explains the manna as a miraculous food that was created specifically for Bnei Yisrael. He notes that the manna was not like any other food in the world, and that it was a clear sign of God's special relationship with Bnei Yisrael. Ramban also highlights the importance of gathering the manna each day, as a reminder of the need for constant reliance on God's provision. He also sees the manna as a symbol of the spiritual sustenance that comes from studying the Torah and following God's commandments.

There is a story in the midrash about a man named Akavia ben Mehalalel who refused to gather the manna, choosing instead to rely on his own resources. However, when he went out to hunt for food, he found nothing. In desperation, he returned to the camp and saw the manna falling from the sky. He gathered some and ate it, and it was the best food he had ever tasted. He realized that the manna was a gift from God and that it was foolish to rely on one's own resources when God was providing for them.

The manna also serves as a reminder of the importance of trust in God. Bnei Yisrael were required to gather just enough for each day, and if they tried to hoard it, it would spoil. This forced them to rely on God's daily provision and to trust that He would continue to provide for them in the future.

In addition, the manna served as a reminder of God's laws and commandments. Bnei Yisrael were commanded to gather the manna on the 6th day in double portion, in preparation for the 7th day, the Sabbath, when they were forbidden to gather any manna. This served as a reminder of the importance of keeping the Sabbath and following God's commandments.

The Manna is a powerful reminder of the love and care that God has for His people, and it inspires us to trust in Him and follow His ways.



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