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Home » B'Ha'alotcha, Food

B’Ha’alotcha: Manna and Shabbat

Submitted by on June 5, 2006 – 2:05 amNo Comment | 2,697 views

A Connection

Our Parsha describes the manner in which the Manna from heaven was delivered to our ancestors in the desert. It has been said that if one forgets which Parsha to read on any given Shabbat he should read the Parsha of the manna. This indicates a connection between the manna and Shabbat.

A Scale of Convenience

Encased in a pocket of dew, the manna was delivered in different ways to different people.

It appeared right at the doorstep of the righteous, a short distance from the house of the moderately pious and outside of the camp for all others.

The righteous had their manna delivered ready to eat, the intermediate were required to bake it first, the others were also required to grind it and knead it into dough.

Regardless of it’s delivery mode all Jews experienced in the manna, a heavenly sanctity and delight.

Food on Shabbat also has an inherent sanctity, as the very act of eating on Shabbat is a Mitzvah. Regardless of one’s intent during his meal, the eating is inherently holy. The degree by which we experience the sanctity of our Shabbat food is left to our free choice.

Inherent Sanctity

During the Shabbat meal Tzadikim focus their thoughts exclusively on the Mitzvah being performed. The sanctity of the meal is immediately available to them without restraint.

The intermediate will allow their minds to wander during the meal yet from time to time, during Kiddush, Dvar Torah and Benching, their thoughts will return to the holiness of the Mitzvah. Their sanctity is available to them, albeit with a minimum amount of effort.

Many, however, will spend their entire Shabbat meal immersed in thoughts and discussion of the mundane. The sanctity is nevertheless inherent in their meal only it requires a great degree of effort to reveal it.

Free of Charge

One more similarity between Shabbat food and the Manna is evident in its casing. The Manna was delivered in a casing of dew, which, unlike rain, descends without fail every day. Our Shabbat meal is also delivered in a casing from heaven.

It is brought in the Code of Jewish Law that when our annual level of income is determined on Rosh Hashanah the amount we spend on Shabbat food is not included. Whatever we choose to spend is returned as a gift from heaven.

And this, the Torah promises, is available without fail to every single Jew, every single Shabbat.

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