Thursday, January 28, 2010

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Beshalach 5770

שבת טעם החיים בשלח תש"ע
Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Beshalach 5770

Manna and Preparing for Shabbos

ויהי ביום הששי לקטו לחם משנה שני העמר לאחד ויבאו כל נשיאי העדה ויגידו למשה, it happened on the sixth day that they gathered a double portion of food, two omers for each; and all the princes of the assembly came and told Moshe. (Shemos 16:22)
In this week’s parasha the Torah spends an inordinate amount of time discussing the manna, the food that fell from heaven for the Jewish People in the Wilderness. The manna fell from heaven every day without fail for forty years straight, and it was the manna that physically sustained the Jewish People for their entire sojourn in the Wilderness. The Sages elaborated on the virtues of the manna. The manna was essentially a spiritual entity. It is said (Tehillim 78:25) lechem abirim achal ish, humans ate the bread of angels, and the Gemara (Yoma 75b) states that this refers to the manna that the Jewish People ate in the Wilderness. Thus, the manna was more than a source of physical nourishment. What we need to understand is what was the spiritual aspect contained in the manna.
Manna means portion and faith
Rashi writes that the word manna means portion. Other commentators note that the word manna is associated with the word emunah, which means trust or faith. The connection between portion and faith in a simple sense is that the Jewish People had faith in HaShem that every day he would provide for them their required amount of nourishment. Yet, when we explore the history of the manna, we will discover that the manna was not merely a onetime event. .
Shabbos is blessed and sanctified with the manna
It is said (Bereishis 2:3) vayivarech Elokim es yom hashevii vayikadeish oso, HaShem blessed the seventh day and sanctified it. The Medrash (Bereishis Rabbah 11:2) states that HaShem blessed the seventh day by providing a double portion of manna on Friday, and HaShem sanctified the seventh day by not allowing manna to fall on Shabbos. This is truly an amazing idea. Already in the beginning of the world the manna was set to play a pivotal role in the lives of the Jewish People. Why was it critical to have the manna incorporated in Shabbos? Furthermore, how does the manna connect to Shabbos?

The manna required some sort of preparation

In addition to the definitions of manna mentioned previously, there is also another meaning to the word. The Commentators (see Sfas Emes 5637) write that the word Manna is associated with the word vayiman (Yona 2:1) which means prepared. Regarding the manna it is said (Shemos 16:22) vayehi bayom hashishi laktu lechem mishneh shinei haomer laechod vayavou kol nisiei haeidah vayagidu liMoshe vayomer aleihem hu asher diber HaShem Shabbason Shabbas kodesh laHaShem machar eis asher tofu eifu vieis asher tivashilu basheiulu vieis kol haodeif hanichu lachem limishmeres ad haboker, it happened on the sixth day that they gathered a double portion of food, two omers for each; and all the princes of the assembly came and told Moshe. He said to them, “This is what HaShem had spoken; tomorrow is a rest day, a holy Shabbos to HaShem. Bake what you wish to bake and cook what you wish to cook; and whatever is left over, put a way for yourselves as a safekeeping until the morning. Thus, we see that an important component of the manna was that the Jewish People prepared it in some fashion.

On Shabbos the Jewish People received the manna directly from HaShem with no deviation

While there is a debate amongst the commentators if the Jewish people actually prepared the manna or if it merely tasted like their imagined preparation, it is clear that the manna had to be prepared in some form. In fact, we can suggest that similar to the manna itself, which was composed of a physical and spiritual aspect, the preparation for the manna was also performed on both the mental and the physical levels. With this premise we can better understand why the manna was incorporated into the concept of Shabbos and its direct connection to Shabbos. The Sfas Emes writes that HaShem is constantly bestowing of His bounty on the entire world. However, the deficiency of the recipients causes that the bounty will deviate at the time of receipt. It is for this reason, writes the Sfas Emes, that HaShem instructed the Jewish People to prepare the manna, as this preparation symbolized that on Shabbos they would receive from HaShem’s bounty without any deviation. During the weekday there is concealment that prevents a direct bestowment, whereas on Shabbos there are no barriers and we received directly from HaShem. Thus, we see that the manna itself, with all its holiness, was transformed with the arrival of Shabbos. It is therefore clear why HaShem blessed the Shabbos and sanctified it with the manna.

Manna is for all generations

We mentioned earlier that the manna was not a onetime event. The Torah states that HaShem instructed Moshe to preserve a full omer of the manna for safekeeping for future generations. The Sfas Emes writes that the Medrash states that one who studies Torah, HaShem Himself prepares for him a meal. On Shabbos HaShem reveals the great treasure that He has concealed in His storehouse. When a Jew delights in eating on Shabbos, he tastes in the food a semblance of the manna. The reason for this is because the omer of manna was preserved for future generations, so it is a given that there is still a remembrance of manna in the world. The Sfas Emes writes further that the Medrash states that the Torah was only given to those who ate the manna. Can it be, wonders the Sfas Emes, that only that generation merited eating the manna? Rather, we are forced to say that on the Holy Shabbos the Jewish People merit to eat from the manna. Based on the words of the Safes Ems we can understand how the manna was introduced in the beginning of time and will endure until the end of time.
The Shabbos connection
Shabbos is a referred to as a semblance of the World to Come. Rabbeinu Bachye (16:4) writes that just like the manna was spiritual food, so too in the future the righteous will eat from spiritual foods, such as the fish referred to as Leviasan and other foods. HaShem should allow us to merit tasting of the Shabbos food a taste of the World to Come, which will be a day that is entirely Shabbos, and a day of rest, for eternity.
Shabbos Stories
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky writes: Once a religious man came to the Brisker Rav, Rav Yitzchok Zev Soloveitchik, and asked him whether he should join a certain organization comprised of people whose views were antithetical to Torah philosophy. Well intentioned, the man felt that his association would perhaps sway the opinions of the antagonists and create harmony among the factions. He would be able to attend meetings and raise his voice in support of Torah outlook.
The Rav advised him not to get involved. The man unfortunately decided to ignore the advice. Within a few months, he was in a quagmire, because policies and actions of the theologically-skewed organization were being linked to him, and were creating animus toward him throughout the community.
For some reason he could not back out of his commitments to the organization. He was torn. How could he regain his reputation as a Torah observing Jew and ingratiate himself to his former community? He returned to the Brisker Rav and asked him once again for his advice.
The Rav told him the following story. There was a young man who aspired to become a wagon driver. He approached a seasoned wagoneer and began his training. After a few weeks, he was ready to be certified.
Before receiving an official certification the veteran decided to pose a few practical applications.
"Let's say," he asked his young charge, "that you decide to take a shortcut and deviate from the main highway. You cut through a forest on a very muddy trail. Your wheels become stuck in the mud and your two passengers become agitated. The horses are struggling to pull out of the mud. They can't seem to get out. What do you do?"
The young driver looked up in thought. "Well," he began, "first I would take some wooden planks and try to get them under the wheels. "Ah!" sighed the old timer, "you made a terrible mistake!" "Why?" retorted the neophyte driver, "I followed procedure in the precise manner! What did I do wrong?"
The old man sighed. "Your mistake was very simple. You don't take shortcuts into muddy forests!"
The activist understood the Brisker Rav's message. (
An apple and the IRS

A certain Chassid, we'll call him Yitzchok, one day received a threatening letter from Israel's equivalent of the I.R.S. concerning an alleged unpaid income tax bill amounting in 10's of thousands of shekels. Understandably, Yitzchok was alarmed. Yitzchok is very meticulous with his accounting and he was therefore dumbfounded upon receiving the delinquent notice. Worse yet, due to delays in the mail, he received the notice and threat of lien, mere weeks before the due date. Even worse than that is the notorious nature of Israel's bureaucracy. Yitzchok needed a miracle to resolve the mix-up before the lien on his assets would take effect. All of this would probably require Yitzchok to retain the services of a pricey accountant or attorney.

Yitzchok took his concerns to his Rebbe, the Gerrer Rebbe Shlita. The Rebbe told Yitzchok not to worry; everything would turn out "ok" and he gave Yitzchok a blessing for a successful resolution of his thorny predicament. The Rebbe told Yitzchok to seek out a certain Chassid named Moshe Spiro. Moshe, the Rebbe said, would be able to help Yitzchok resolve the matter. Yitzchok asked the Rebbe how exactly Moshe Spiro how would help him... did Moshe have connections in the government? The Rebbe did not answer Yitzchok, he just reiterated to Yitzchok his advice to seek out Moshe Spiro. Nu? What does a good Chassid do? He listens to his Rebbe. Even though Yitzchok had no idea how Moshe Spiro would help him, he nevertheless sought out Reb Moshe with hope and prayer that Reb Moshe would be the right person to help.

When Yitzchok arrived at Moshe Spiro's house, Reb Moshe was just on his way out to drive to Tel Aviv to be "menachem ovel" - console a mourner during the "Shiva." Reb Moshe invited Yitzchok to join him for the ride, so that they would be able to discuss the pressing issue in the car. Reb Moshe also failed to understand why the Gerrer Rebbe would send Yitzchok to him. Nevertheless, Reb Moshe like Yitzchok had emunas Tzadikim - belief in the spiritual influence of righteous people, so, Reb Moshe knew that eventually he would understand the Rebbe's intentions and he therefore pledged to help Yitzchok in whatever way possible. When the two arrived in Tel Aviv, Moshe invited Yitzchok to join him to console the mourner. Yitzchok demurred due to the fact that he did not know the mourner. Moshe, however, convinced Yitzchok to join him to perform the great mitzvah of comforting a mourner.

Yitzchok entered the room with Moshe, and the mourner looked up to see the impressive view of two Gerrer Chassidim joining a crowd of largely secular and modern Israelis. Seeing the Gerrer Chassidim, the mourner began to discuss his parents' and his own relationship with Gerrer Chassidus.
Several years earlier, the mourner had a young daughter who unfortunately had became very ill, very suddenly. The man sought out the best available doctors who got to work right away to try to determine what was wrong with the girl. The situation was so serious, that the girl was placed on an

The girl's father wasted no time in dispatching a messenger to the Gerrer Rebbe at the time, the "Lev Simcha." The Rebbe listened intently and blessed the girl that she should have a full and speedy recovery. In addition, the Rebbe gave the messenger an apple and instructed that a piece be given to
the girl. The messenger returned to the hospital room of the girl where her parents waited on-edge and prayed for the recovery of their daughter. The father of the girl was surprised to receive an apple from the Rebbe. How would he feed it to his daughter who was on an I.V. and unconscious?

Nevertheless, the man had belief that his Rebbe would somehow be able to intercede on his behalf in Heaven on behalf of the girl. As the Sages tell us, "A Tzaddik (righteous person) decrees, and HaShem carries out the decree." (Medrash Tanchumah Vayerah 19)

The man went home and baked the apple well until it was very soft. And then, he took some back to his daughter's hospital room. Somehow, he managed to feed a little bit to his ailing daughter. Miracle upon miracles... the girl started to recover! In a short time, the girl had a full recovery. (Lest one think that it was the actual apple which caused the girl to get better, it is much deeper than that. The apple was symbolic of the Rebbe's concern for the girl. Another way of understanding this is that the Rebbe prayed very intensely for the girl's health and out of
humility, he wanted to "hide" the power of his prayer, so he gave the apple, which apparently brought about the recovery."

The mourner concluded his story and the assembled people gasped at the amazing nature of the recovery of the girl, who only recently was married, Boruch HaShem. What is more interesting about the story is the following: Yitzchok, the man with the tax problems spoke up and told the mourner that he was the bachur who had brought the apple to the mourner some 20 years earlier!

What's even more amazing is that the mourner worked in a government office. And in what government office did he work? The Tax Authority office. In short, after the Shivah ended, the mourner took care of Yitzchok's problems in short order.
The divine assistance and intervention involved with this story was amazing. Yitzchok had the tax problem. He went to the Gerrer Rebbe, the Gerrer Rebbe sent Yitzchok to Moshe Spiro, who has nothing to do with the Israeli Tax Authority. When Yitzchok arrived at Moshe Spiro's house, Moshe was on his way to console a mourner in Tel Aviv. Yitzchok accepted Moshe's invitation to join him in a ride to Tel Aviv. Moshe convinced Yitzchok to go into the apartment to join him in consoling the mourner. Yitzchok had not wanted to go in, because he did not know the mourner, or so he thought. The mourner saw the two Gerrer Chassidim and decided to tell the story of his sick daughter and the Gerrer Rebbe from many years earlier. The messenger with the apple was Yitzchok! The mourner asked Yitzchok why he came to console him. Yitzchok would normally not have initiated a discussion regarding such mundane things as the tax issue in the presence of a mourner. And then, as it turns out, the mourner worked in the Tax office! (from the Internet)
Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Beshalach 5770
I will be giving a class in Navi on Shabbos afternoon at Bais Haknesses HaGra 14561 Lincoln in Oak Park, half an hour before Mincha.
Have a wonderful and delightful Shabbos.
Prepared by Rabbi Binyomin Adler.
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