Parshat Beha’aloscha 5783: The Miraculous Manna, and its Intermediate Form?

Shalom Friends;

This week, our Parshat HaShevua, Beha’aloscha is being co-sponsored by Shlomo and Shoshana Weis of Ramat Beit Shemesh and dedicated lilui nishas Rachel bat Me’ir Moshe, and by Yehudah and Tamara Nyssen, also of Ramat Beit Shemesh, dedicated for the good health and growth of their granddaughter Efrat bat Sarah Bracha Elisheva. To the Weis and Nyssen families, many thanks for your co-sponsorships and for your continued kindnesses.

You can celebrate a Simcha — a birth, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, a Chassuna or other Simcha event in your life, or commemorate a Yahrtzeit of a loved one, or for whatever other reason by sponsoring a Parshat HaShevua.

Please forward to your relatives and friends and encourage them to sponsor a Parshat HaShevua. And please be in contact with me with any questions, or for further details.

Best Regards,

Moshe Burt
skype: mark.burt3

Parshat Beha’aloscha 5783: The Miraculous Manna, and its Intermediate Form?

by Moshe Burt

This author started working on a vort for Parshat Beha’aloscha based on the role of the Ananei HaKavod in the Jews’ travels, encampments in Bamidbar. But when opening Shem Mishmuel’s vort on our Parsha regarding the Am’s complaints concerning the lack of meat, fish and vegetables, his discussion regarding the Manna knocked this author’s socks off.

Shem Mishmuel cites a Rashi on Shemos Perek 16, posuk 35 (“Selections on the Weekly Parashah and Festivals” Rendered to English by Rabbi Zvi Belovski, pages 323-324) :

When Moshe passed in the plains of Mo’av, on 7 Adar, the mon [manna] stopped falling, and they had sufficient mon stored to last until they offered the Omer on 16 Nissan.

The cakes which Yisrael brought out of Mitzrayim tasted of mon.

These fascinating comments of Rashi describe the situation throughout the time when Yisrael experienced the mon.

When Moshe passed, [the mon] stopped falling, and so when they entered Eretz Yisrael, they ate stored mon for a few weeks until they could partake of the new grain.

It was quite simple to explain the necessity for this. When one is used to a particular lifestyle, it can be hard to suddenly change to another. It’s much less shocking to adapt to the change via an intermediate step. Klal Yisrael were used to eating the ordinary food available in Mitzrayim, which was undoubtedly imbued with the coarse, physically oriented character of the Mitzriyim. It would have been too much of a shock to their systems to suddenly leave this food and begin to eat mon, a totally spiritual form of nourishment, akin to the food enjoyed by the melochim [angels]. So to accustom them to this change, an intermediate stage was provided, in which they ate Mitzri food which tasted of mon. A few weeks on, they were able to take the second step and eat just mon.

This phenomenon was repeated in reverse when, after forty years, Klal Yisrael saw the mon fall for the last time. The change to ordinary grain would have been too great, so once again, Hashem provided them with an intermediate phase, in which they ate mon, but mon served not in a miraculous manner, but from their own pots and pans. After this, they could make the jump to the produce of the land [in Eretz Yisrael].

Shem Mishmuel’s citing of Rashi and discussion raises questions. The Artscroll Stone Chumash provides some context on Sefer Shemos, Perek 16, posukim 16-21 (page 387) :

…Manna could not be put away for another day; when individuals attempted to do so, it became spoiled overnight.

The Sages teach that enormous amounts of manna fell each day, infinitely more than the nation required for its day’s subsistence, yet it was all gone by midday. (Artscroll Stone Chumash citing Yoma 76a)

And so, the questions.

How is it possible to have mon stored away when Moshe passed on 7 Adar which was sufficient to sustain Am Yisrael through the 15th of Nissan when the Omer was offered?

Above, we see that Manna could not be stored, as it is established above that it was for the day of its serving only and that the Sages indicate that whatever remained by midday vanished. Others indicate that attempts to store it overnight were for naught as it became rotten.

This author spoke with his Rav, HaRav Avishai David of Kehillah Beit Tefillah Yona Avraham who posed this question: How was it possible for Aaron, HaKohen, to have stored manna in jars which were preserved for hundreds of years in order that later generations have validation of the manna which fell in Bamidbar? My response was that the preservation of these jars were of deep spiritual importance and thus apparently were miraculously preserved.

Rabbi David also indicated that commentators differed as to how long the B’nei Yisrael made due with the “stored mon” upon entering Eretz Yisrael. Did they depend on this “stored mon” for the period of time indicated by Shem Mishmuel, or was this apparent substance with the taste of mon their staple until such time as the land was conquered?

This author asks these questions regarding the mon: Were there two sets of mon, one being the miraculous mon that fell for each of Am Yisrael for forty years until Moshe Rabbeinu’s passing, and another type of material which had to be cooked so as to have the taste of mon, which served Am Yisrael until that time when they could eat of their grain? What was this material? When and how did it manifest itself for Am Yisrael?

All of these questions seem to have been left open through the ages. This author gleans from this discussion that Hashem continued to provide “mon” in some form to supply sustenance to Am Yisrael for some period of time until they were able to fend for themselves in Eretz Yisrael. What this sustenance was, how and where it manifested itself and for how long seem to open to question and inquiry.

May we, the B’nei Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole — be totally restituted for all that was stolen from them, that the thrice expelled families of Amona be restored to their rebuilt homes and the oft-destroyed Yeshiva buildings in Homesh be rebuilt, all at total government expense; due to alt-leftist-agendized, supreme court legalized Yassamnik gunpoint. Baruch Hashem that our dear brother Jonathan Pollard is now in his third year at home in Eretz Yisrael and has embarked on a new chapter in his life. May Esther Yocheved bat Yechiel Avraham have an aliyah in Shemayim and may her spirit and memory continue to lift Jonathan to at least 120 years. May the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem — as with the return in April, 2019, via Russia, of the remains of Zachariah Baumel, as should the remains of the two chayalim from the Gaza War of nine years ago. May we have the courage and strength to stand up and physically prevent the possibility of Chas V’Challila any future eviction of Jews from their homes and prevent Chas V’Challila the handing of Jewish land over to anyone, let alone to enemies sworn to Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication. And may we soon and finally see the total end to the Communist Chinese corona virus pandemic and all like viruses. May we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nei Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha to see the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Ki Karov Yom Hashem Al’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bimhayrah b’yamainu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!

Good Shabbos!
Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.