'Man'

Torah Message from Rabbi Moldovan

As the Jewish people travel in the desert wondering where their next meal will come from, Hashem provides them with miraculous food from heaven. “Man” as it was called, was a type of dew that was scattered through the camp every morning. The “man” was cooked and tasted like whatever the devourer had in mind. You wanted chicken, it was chicken. Cheese, it was cheese. Ice cream, it was ice cream. Whatever your heart desired. It was a great deal. The Jewish people received whatever food they wanted, for free, and every day. But their reaction is surprising. After being showered with goodness from Hashem, the Jewish people request to return to “the cucumbers and melons that they ate in Egypt”. What nation in their right mind would forego “man” for garden vegetables! The commentaries explain that people have difficulty departing from their regular habits. Just like the billionaire can’t bear eating the hard bread of a poor man, so too the poor man can’t stomach the caviar that satisfies the richest. We all get used to our food, accommodation, climate, family, and social circle. They’re hard to change. The Jewish people were so used to a life of slavery that they had a tough time adjusting to the riches. The “man” was actually a test from Hashem – a test to see if we were ready for change. A Jew has to constantly be ready to change. Many of us mistakenly take one of two extremes – either the Torah is rigid and not subject to change. Or the Torah adapts with the times and is open to whatever the current winds of change dictate. The truth is neither. The laws and the principles of the Torah are unchanging. But they have to be applied in different circumstances. We have to be open to the changing world around us to apply the Torah correctly. We would not have survived two thousand years of exile scattered throughout different cultures without this idea. Hashem wants to see that we are capable of change. Change is the catalyst for growth in the service of Hashem. And inertia is anathema. We should all learn from the test of the “man” and start our path of growth to serve Hashem with our full hearts.

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