Meir Tzvi Berman

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Parsha Beshalach


"Vachamushim Olu Bnei Yisrael Mei'Eretz Mitzrayim"

"And armed they ascended the Children of Israel, from the Land of Mitzrayim (Egypt)"

The Bnei Yisrael (the Children of Israel) left Mitzrayim fully armed in case they were attacked by enemies. In contrast, we find (Exodus 12:39) that they took along no food for their trek across the desert. They relied entirely upon Hashem to provide them with food. Why did they prepare weapons for the journey while leaving the issue of their sustenance totally up to Hashem?

Hashem wants people to make an effort to provide for themselves even though ultimately it is He who provides all of their needs. It is not permitted to depend solely on supernatural miracles; Each person must expend effort to achieve his/her aims according to his/her individual level of faith. (Although nature is nothing more than the manifestation of Hashem's continual will, to expect that Hashem would alter that will for a person may be presumptuous.) Hashem therefore requires effort from each individual. However, at times one is put into a situation where it is obvious that any amount of trying will be futile. The only recourse in such circumstances is to have complete faith in Hashem and pray for His salvation.

When Bnei Yisrael left Mitzrayim, there was no point in attempting to provide themselves with food; It would be impossible to carry enough food for the whole trip anyway. It was clear that Hashem wanted the Jews to trust in Him, rather than try to follow the Laws of Nature. Consequently, they took very little food with them. On the other hand, it was proper for them to take along weapons. By doing so, they were sufficiently prepared to defend themselves in the ordinary fashion.

(Darash Moshe)


"Vayikreu Bais Yisrael Ess Sh'mo Mon V'Hu K'zera Gad Lovon V'Taamo K'Tzapichas Bidvash. Vayomer Moshe Zeh Hadavor Asher Tzivo Hashem Ho'omer L'Mishmeres L'Doreseichem L'Ma'an Yiru Ess Halachem Asher Heechalti Eschen Bamidbar B'notzii Eschem Mitzrayim"

"And they (House of Israel) called its name Mon (Manna) and it is like a seed of coriander that is white and its taste is like a dough in honey. And Moshe (Moses) said "This is the thing that Hashem commanded 'Fill Omer measure of this for a keepsake for your generation so that they will see the bread that I fed you in the desert when I extricated you from Mitzrayim."

This verse (Exodus 16:31) is the Torah's first description of the Mon (Manna) although the Torah mentions the Mon in an earlier verse (Exodus 16:15) Why did the Torah choose to describe the Mon while mentioning the commandment to put away some Mon as a keepsake, instead of describing it immediately when the Mon was first discussed?

The Torah's reason for recording the appearance of the Mon was not merely to provide us with a full historical account of the Jews' trek in the desert. Rather, this description was useful to the prophet Yirmiyahu (Jeremiah) in imparting an important lesson to the people of his time.(Rashi Exodus 12 :33) When the Jews were reluctant to set aside time for the Torah study, Yirmiyahu used the keepsake flask of Mon to encourage them. He showed them that Hashem provided for the needs of the Jews, even when they traveled through the barren desert. Therefore, He could surely sustain them even if they devoted some of their time to Torah study. Anyone who questioned the authenticity of Yirmiyahu's Manna needed only to compare it with the Torah's description of the Mon which Hashem gave the Jews in the desert.

The Torah wanted future generations to learn from the Mon that Hashem can provide for the people in any way He chooses. The description in the Torah was destined to support the credibility of anyone who wanted to use the keepsake Mon for this purpose. The Torah's account of the Mon's appearance serves to supplement the commandment to put some Mon away as a keepsake. Thus, the Torah gave this description together with the commandment to leave some Mon as a keepsake rather than immediately upon mentioning the Mon.

Courtesy of JewishAmerica (

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