In this week’s Torah portion (read this coming Saturday in the Synagogue) we learn about the Splitting of the Red Sea and the falling of the “Manna” which the Jews ate in the desert for forty years. As a result today there is a special prayer to be said for our income and health. While I am a rationalist Jew and don’t go into for a lot these types of traditions, as they say, “it couldn’t hurt!”
Love Yehuda Lave
Two old friends met each other on the street one day. One looked forlorn, almost on the verge of tears. His friend asked, “What has the world done to you, my old friend?”
The sad fellow said, “Let me tell you: three weeks ago, my uncle died and left me forty thousand dollars.”
I am sorry for your loss, but that’s a lot of money.”
But you see, two weeks ago, a cousin I never even knew died and left me eighty-five thousand dollars.” His friend replied, “Sounds to me that you’ve been very blessed.”
“You don’t understand!” he interrupted. “Last week my great-aunt passed away. I inherited almost a quarter of a million from her.” Now the man’s friend was really confused. “Then, why do you look so glum?”
There is a special prayer recited by many especially on the Tuesday and Wednesday of Parshas Beshalach (2/4/2020 and 2/5/2020)
When our ancestors were in the Wilderness, a month after the Exodus from Egypt, they faced a tomorrow with no food. Justifiably, they asked Moshe if he had taken them into the desert to starve to death. Hashem responded that in the morning they would see that He had not forsaken them.
In the morning – and every morning for the next 40 years – there was manna waiting for them. By evening there was nothing left, and the next morning, it was there again. Can you imagine how we would feel if we went to sleep every night with empty refrigerators? There in the Wilderness, Hashem showed our ancestors that ultimately, income (called parnassah in Hebrew) is in His hands
We pray for it every day – to provide for our families, to assist worthy causes, to build sturdy foundations for the future.
The Torah reading of Parashas Beshalach (this week’s Parsha reading) includes the chapter telling how the Jewish People in the Wilderness received manna (the miracle food they ate in the desert). Many people recite the chapter daily, as a special prayer for parnassah. There is also a widespread custom to recite this chapter on the Tuesday and Wednesday of the week of Beshalach.
Why? What is so special about the chapter about the Manna?
1. In the Sefer Hayashar the “Book of the Straight” from Rabbenu Tam it is written that: “The main trait of all good traits is faith and trust, to believe with complete faith that the Creator blessed be He, is the leader and watches over everyone and provides each individual what he lacks. And that a person cannot even touch a hair breath of what is prepared for his friend.
Through this he will come to trust as his heart will be sure and secure with G-d that all that is prepared for him from G-d will get to him without any extra effort and he won’t spend his days with worries and vanities trying to amass wealth for he believes and has faith that he has no ability of his own rather what is budgeted for him from the heavens that is what he will have – no more and no less.”
2. Rabbeinu Bachya explains why G-d made the manna fall at night. “And they would awaken in the morning and find their food ready with no effort in order to teach them that one who goes in G-d’s path will find his sustenance without toil and effort.”
3. This is why it is brought down in the Shulchan Aruch (code of laws) 1,5, that it’s good to say the chapter of the Akedah- Binding every morning and the chapter of the manna. The Rabbeinu Bachya adds that whoever says the Chapter of the Mahn every day is guaranteed never to lack sustenance. The Tashbatz says in the name of the Jerusalem Talmud that whoever says the chapter of the Mahn daily will never lack for sustenance and he adds “I guarantee this”. This is because a person will always know where to turn when lacking livelihood.
4.The Taz explains that “This is in order that a person believe all his sustenance comes providentially from on High.”
5.The Mishna Berurah adds: “This teaches us that more effort doesn’t help. Just as ‘the one who added Mahn more than his portion didn’t have more’ and ‘the one who took less didn’t have less’ everyone had an omer per head as ordained from heaven. From this man should learn that more effort for livelihood add more income and food and the opposite, less effort won’t diminish his income and livelihood and G-d will fill in what he lacks according to what was decreed.”
6. The opposite is also true. Whoever lacks faith in G-d will diminish his blessing and livelihood. The Chiddushei HaRim explains that G-d commanded a jar of Mahn be preserved for future generations for all to see that G-d provides endlessly for the ones who fear Him. Those who chase after their livelihood with worry and fear that they’ll lack bread and have no faith in G-d blessed be He who truly watches over all and provides for all of his creations without any stop at all, they cause harm to their blessing sent from above and, so to speak, weaken G-d’s ability to bestow good on them and bring about lack upon themselves.”
7. There is a custom to bring food to the birds before this Shabbat. Rabbi Elimelech Biderman explains that the source of this is that: “Birds approaching their food bend their heads down and take the food and immediately lift their heads upwards and the repeat this cycle as they eat; down and up. This teaches us that one should expend some effort for livelihood but remember to immediately lift up your head and hope to G-d for He is the one who will provide you with your livelihood.”