This week’s Parsha is Parsha Beshalach. There are few founding events in the Parsha: the parting of the sea; Moses’ thankful song of the sea; G-d miraculously giving the Isrealites water to appease their thirst; G-d causing manna to rain down from the sky every morning around the camp; and the providing of quails during evening to feed the Israelites. Lastly, in Rephidim the Israelites fight the Amalekites and prevail thanks to Moses’ prayers and Joshua’s army.
The point I will focus on is the Manna. G-d said to Moses “I will rain down bread for you from the sky…” The manna appeared every morning: “over the surface of the wilderness, lay a fine and flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground.” According to the Book of Numbers, it tasted like rich cream. Also the Sages praise the Manna: in Masechet Yoma it is called, “The food of Angels”.
Of the Manna, G-d said: “I may thus test them, to see whether they will follow My instructions or not.” The Manna is not just a miraculous gift but also a test of faith and belief. The Manna appeared in the morning and melted during the day. They couldn't keep it in their home even one night because it would spoil with worms. They could only trust G-d that he would provide them with their food every day.
On the sixth day that G-d rained down manna for the Israelites to eat, they realized that twice the normal amount of manna had rained down, so they went to consult Moses and he told them this was especially for Shabbat: “That is what the Lord spoke, Tomorrow is a rest day, a holy Sabbath to the Lord. Bake whatever you wish to bake, and cook whatever you wish to cook, and all the rest leave over to keep until morning.” (Exodus 16:23) On the seventh day some Israelites disobeyed the Lord and went to gather manna, and the Lord said to Moses “How long will you refuse to observe My commandments and My teachings?” (Exodus 16:28)
In our Parasha we see many examples of the Isrealites being disrespectful and even totally disobeying G-d’s orders. They complained because of their thirst and G-d gave them water, they complained because of their hunger and G-d gave them quails and manna; but when G-d gave them a simple task of taking a double portion of manna since none would be provided on Shabbat, a large number of Israelites disobeyed.
Like the Israelites did, sometimes we take things for granted and miss opportunities in our lives. We would do better to complain less about what we don’t have and appreciate and be thankful for the things we do have.
Luca, Grade 10