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Posted on February 3, 2023 (5783) By Rabbi Label Lam | Series: | Level:

They gathered it morning by morning, each one according to his eating capacity, and [when] the sun grew hot, it melted. It came to pass on the sixth day that they gathered a double portion of bread, two Omers for [each] one, and all the princes of the community came and reported [it] to Moshe. So, he said to them, “That is what HASHEM spoke, Tomorrow is a rest day, a holy Shabbos to HASHEM. Bake whatever you wish to bake, and cook whatever you wish to cook, and all the rest leave over to keep until morning” (Shemos 16:21-24)

The reception of MANN as a daily diet was not just a practical, albeit miraculous solution to sustaining a nation in the desert until they were ready to enter the land. It was part of an important training program. The Talmud tells us, “Ain HaTorah Nitna Ella L’Ochlei MANN” – “The Torah is only given to eaters of MANN”. What does that mean?

Was it just the purifying quality of this heavenly bread that prepared their bodies to receive the Torah or is there more? How do we become recipients of the Torah?

The Chovos HaLevavos, in his introduction to the Gate of Trust in HASHEM, spells out a few basic principles that explain the dynamics of Bitachon and how “it works”. Not only how Bitachon works but that Bitachon works. The first postulate is that it is impossible for a person to be free from worry unless he relies on HASHEM. This bold statement is calling out for an explanation. Bitachon is not sitting back passively and watching things happen. It is a division of labor, a working relationship built on trust.

I need to stay focused on my job, whatever is in my sphere of influence, and my Partner, HASHEM, takes care of everything and everyone else in the world. I cannot do my job if I am constantly bombarded by concerns about how everything and everyone else will be managed or controlled. It’s distracting at a minimum and ultimately maddening to bear the burden of a world over which you have no control. In the end, a person will not be able to do his primary job which is to first develop himself and then influence his family and friends.

He will be so busy being global that he will fail to be local, and it gets worse. The second postulate of the Chovos HaLevavos is that if one is not relying on HASHEM, then, by default, he is relying on something or someone else. It may be his good looks, his glib tongue, his rich uncle, Uncle Sam, a political connection, or public opinion. So, we see that a person has a natural trait, an instinct, a need to trust. The only question is, in what or whom he is trusting?!

The Chovos HaLevavos then states something that only he could say with certainty, and it explains a lot, and maybe everything. He states that HASHEM places the person into the limited capacity of whatever he believes in and trusts. Let’s see how far a person can go with his good looks alone.

If one relies on his money or popularity then he is left vulnerable and insecure. Whatever he is placing his trust and hope in, whatever he is relying on becomes his boss, his god. This is what he is dedicated to working for and protect and to satisfy at all costs.

Can a person have all of these good things and still rely solidly on HASHEM? Yes! How so? There is a Hallacha that a person is not allowed to lean on a lectern, a Shtender when Davening, Shmona Esreh. What is the standard that defines leaning on? If the person estimates, if the Shtender would be suddenly removed, would he remain stable or would he fall?! What if I didn’t have my money or friends anymore? Would I – could I still stand happily before HASHEM or would my world crumble?

Now, what was the purpose of this stuff called MANN? It was a training ground for the entire Jewish People to realize that we are absolutely reliant on HASHEM. We can have everything but if we don’t have HASHEM then we have nothing. If we have nothing else but we have HASHEM then we have everything. Now we can each focus on our job, learning Torah and doing Mitzvos, and raising a next generation to do the same, because while we are busily engaged in our job, everything else is reliably being catered and managed and perfectly ordered by our capable Partner.