Beshalach - Intimate Connection


Hashem said to Moses, Behold! I am going to rain down for you bread from heaven, and the people shall go out and gather what is needed for the day, so that I can test them, whether or not they will follow My teaching.
וַיֹּ֤אמֶר ה' אל־משֶׁ֔ה הִֽנְנִ֨י מַמְטִ֥יר לָכֶ֛ם לֶ֖חֶם מִן־הַשָּׁמָ֑יִם וְיָצָ֨א הָעָ֤ם וְלָֽקְטוּ֙ דְּבַר־י֣וֹם בְּיוֹמ֔וֹ לְמַ֧עַן אֲנַסֶּ֛נּוּ הֲיֵלֵ֥ךְ בְּתֽוֹרָתִ֖י אִם־לֹֽא
Shmot 16:4
The Slonimer Rebbe raises several questions around this pasuk: 
  • Why is this mitzvah (mannah) the only mitzvah in the Torah to explicitly be used as a test to the Jewish people's commitment to Torah
  • With this being presented as a test, why is the test not presented immediately adjacent to the mitzvah ( I am going to rain down for you bread from heaven so that I can test them, whether or not they will follow My teaching), rather another phrase interrupts - "the people shall go out and gather what is needed for the day"
Eternal Provisioning
Says the Slonimer Rebbe,  this idea comes to underscore the eternal nature of the Torah  and that it doesn't just address events in the past, but  remains relevant to Jews always. He brings insights from the works of the Baal Shem Tov, saying that this Parsha provides a foundation regarding faith and trust about one's livelihood.

Bringing Noam Elimelech, the Slonimer Rebbe explains this concept, saying that the word "מַמְטִ֥יר" (rain down) is written in the present tense, further supporting the eternal nature of these concepts. Just as Hashem brings down rain from heaven, so also does he bring down bread, and always has impact on our livelihood.

Trust
It is the responsibility of every Jew to prepare a vessel to receive all this goodness from heaven - this vessel is the trait of trust.

Thus "וְיָצָ֨א הָעָ֤ם" (the people shall go out) comes to show that when we go out and venture beyond the boundary of trust, then we left to toil everyday to find our own livlihood.

The story of mannah comes to set the foundations for faith and trust in Hashem, and that He ultimately is responsible for our livlihood.


A Parable
The Slonimer Rebbe brings a Gemarrah in Yoma (76A):
R. Simon b. Yohai was asked by his disciples: Why did not the manna come down unto Israel once annually? He replied: I shall give a parable: This thing may be compared to a king of flesh and blood who had one son, whom he provided with maintenance once a year, so that he would visit his father once a year only. Thereupon he provided for his maintenance every day, so that he called on him every day. The same with Israel. One who had four or five children would worry, saying:
Perhaps no manna will come down to-morrow, and all will die of hunger. Thus they were found to turn their attention to their Father in Heaven.
This is the lesson of Mannah, that for a Jew everyday there is a need for a direct line to Hashem to request a livelihood. Everyday a Jew has to turn towards heaven, and with heavy eyes, request help in getting livelihood.

This is why it says "לְמַ֧עַן אֲנַסֶּ֛נּוּ הֲיֵלֵ֥ךְ בְּתֽוֹרָתִ֖י אִם־לֹֽא" (so that I can test them, whether or not they will follow My teaching). That is the purpose of a Jew, for like the parable in Yoma, a Jew has to turn to Hashem and come to Him everyday. This is what Hashem wants, pleasing Him. Likewise we see this similarly by the curse brought up on the snake, that he had all the sustenance that he needed, since the snake is unwelcome before Hashem so he can always find his sustenance everywhere and never has to turn to Hashem for help.

However a Jew has been blessed, that he has to turn to Hashem everyday, as it says in Tehillim:
Everyone's eyes look to You with hope, and You give them their food in its time. You open Your hand and satisfy every living thing [with] its desire
עֵ֣ינֵי כֹ֖ל אֵלֶ֣יךָ יְשַׂבֵּ֑רוּ וְאַתָּ֚ה נוֹתֵֽן־לָהֶ֖ם אֶת־אָכְלָ֣ם בְּעִתּֽוֹ פּוֹתֵ֥חַ אֶת־יָדֶ֑ךָ וּמַשְׂבִּ֖יעַ לְכָל־חַ֣י רָצֽוֹן
Tehillim 145: 15-16

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