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Food Still Falls From Heaven

Thursday, 24 January, 2013 - 10:31 pm

A Yeshiva student meets with his prospective father-in-law for the first time to ask for his daughter’s hand. The father asks “what do you intend to do after your marriage?” The young man replies, “I would like to continue studying.” The father questions, “What about a livelihood?” “G-d will provide” answers the young man. “How will you support my daughter?” “G-d will provide.” “Do you plan to have kids? How will they eat?” “Of course, G-d will provide.” A few minutes later the father slips out of the room to talk to his wife. She asks, “Nu, what do you think about him?” He replies, “Nice kid. He hasn’t got a clue about life, but already three times he referred to me as G-d.”

This week we read about the Manna that G-d sent to the Jewish people during their 40 year sojourn in the desert. This miraculous food literally fell from heaven each day providing the people with all of their food needs. What blessing does one make over before eating Manna? Hamotzi Lechem Min Hashamayim – Who brings forth bread from the heaven. This is very similar to the blessing we make over bread – Hamotzi Lechem Min Ha’aretz – Who brings forth bread from the earth.

This similarity is very significant. Ultimately a person of faith recognizes that parnassa – livelihood comes from Hashem. The difference is that for the Jews in the desert this notion was directly obvious, whereas for us Hashem’s blessing travels through natural channels (the work of the farmer, the miller, the baker and the individual’s work that generates the income to purchase the food). The Talmud talks of the faithful farmer who expresses his belief that it is all from Hashem as he plants and harvests. The same could be said of the laborer, businessman or professional who plies his trade in earnest, while recognizing that it is merely a vehicle for Hashem’s blessing.

The challenge of the natural order is to connect the dots properly and see the truth behind the façade. For some this is more challenging when the going gets rough, for others it is more challenging when times are good. Either way, both those that are successful and those that struggle would be more serene if they truly acknowledged that it is all from Hashem.

This coming Monday there is a unique rally for Israel at the UNO amphitheater - organized by Chloe Valdary – a young black UNO student, who is generating a storm of positive interest and support for Israel. It is called Declare Your Freedom – and info can be found at www.facebook.com/events/261801583945496. Among the featured speakers is Daniel Pipes, a renowned Israel advocate. I am looking forward to participating and I hope they get a good crowd.

The Purim Shuttle has left the bus depot. Hop aboard and send your friends lovely Purim gifts while supporting Chabad’s work. Go to www.chabadneworleans.com/purimproject and use the login info that was provided in the Purim Shuttle email. Happy clicking.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

 

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