Eikev – Heavenly bread: when we have more than we need
In Parshat Eikev, Moshe reminds Am Yisrael of the Manna that HaShem had been giving them for the past 40 years, and the lesson that can be learned from it.
The first time the Jews encountered the Manna, they had only been travelling for a short period of time since they crossed the Red Sea, at which point they had finished their provisions which they took out of Egypt and desperately needed food.
HaShem informs us that He will miraculously provide us with bread from the sky, Manna, which we will be able to live off in the desert. However, with the Manna comes one of the first set of laws in which Am Yisrael had to follow. Every morning the Manna would fall, and a member of every household had to collect a certain amount of Manna, no more, no less.
When they brought it back to their tents and measured their Manna again, if they had originally collected less or more than the prescribed amount, the Manna would miraculously become the exact prescribed amount. This was to test and teach the nation to not hoard food and to trust in HaShem to provide for them the exact amount of food needed for each day.
Imagine, Am Yisrael is a slave nation, which had never had control over any aspects of their lives, even the ability to find their own food and eat how much they want. Now, HaShem is providing them with abundant food from the sky, but ingraining in them the message to only take the exact amount of food which they need to live off.
Now Am Yisrael, after 40 years of only eating exactly what they need, are on the verge of entering Israel, a land with abundant water, all the bread they could eat, the seven species of fruit and land rich in resources. Moshe, a messenger of HaShem, warns us that when we build great houses and have all the food we could possibly eat, not to forget who provided it for us.
We must remember the lesson of the Manna, that we should take exactly what we need and use our wealth for our family’s needs, but we shouldn’t over indulge in our wealth and food we eat. We must remember who the true provider of our wealth is, HaShem, and use our wealth in the way in which He has proscribed for us, by giving tzedaka to the poor and helping the community around us. In this way, we will be able to remember that HaShem is the true giver of life and we must constantly thank Him for that which we have.