Like Manna From Heaven

Categories: Beshalach, Parshah

This week’s Parsha, Beshalach, tells of the Jewish people leaving Egypt and crossing the Sea. It also begins to tell us of their journey in the desert. Obviously, their time in the desert was a significant one; it is the time period that takes up most of the Torah. The Jewish people were sustained throughout their travels by Manna, the food from heaven. Manna fell every day with the exception of Shabbat. On Friday, a double portion of manna would fall and be collected to be held for Shabbat. This occurrence is commemorated weekly with two loaves of Challah that we have on the Shabbat table. What is the lesson of the Manna? Manna fell fresh daily – the same for each person no matter how much time they spent collecting – and spoiled after nightfall. In other words, no one was able to hold on to theirs for future consumption, that is, with the exception of Shabbat. This teaches us something important for life: We each get our allotted portion. No matter how hard we work, or how much time we spend, we get that which we are destined to get. Sure, work helps–in fact, it’s essential, because G-d wants His miracles to come through “natural” channels of our effort. But, nonetheless, we are destined to receive the amount we receive. Also, nothing is held over for later; When it’s over, it’s over and you can’t take anything with you. But there is one exception to this rule: Shabbos. In the desert, Jews got two loaves on Friday so they wouldn’t have to collect food on Shabbos. From this double miracle–the double portion of miraculous food–we learn that not everything is finite once the “sun sets”. Good deeds and holy acts have the ability to “come with.” Those things live on no matter what happens. So, while our material blessings may be fixed and finite, our spiritual achievements are not. So, let us stay focused on the holy and good, and may they have everlasting impacts. Good Shabbos!

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