Beshalach

As a free people, Israel pines for the stability of slavery in Egypt, “where we ate our fill of bread.” Their desire is honest and they are given bread to eat, but of a different kind this time: “The people asked ‘what is it [mann hu]?’, for they knew not what it was.” This mannah is a bread fit for the real world, a bread of doubt, a bread of curiosity – mann hu, it is What! Being sustained by doubt-bread, we can maintain a healthy balance: thankful for the miracle of having what we need; never overly-confident that we deserve it. This perspective leads to the wisdom [koach-mah, power of What] to see that having bread also means sharing it.

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[Inspired by: Exodus 16; Mei Hashiloach; Bet Yosef and other commentaries on Parashat Ha-man; and the anonymous painter known as The Master of the Gathering of the Manna.]

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