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PARASHAS BESHALACH: More Than Just a Segula for Parnassa

Parashas beshalach year 1 issue 22
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It is customary during the week of Parashas Beshalach for people to read Parashas Hamon, and subsequently, they go to their bank accounts anticipating to see richness.

Parashas Hamon is indeed a segula for parnassa. Moreover, it's right to have such a feeling for Parashas Hamon that if you read and believe in it, it is a segula for parnassa. However, the truth is it's much deeper than merely such. A person, a yarei shamayim, someone who's looking to be a genuine Jew, should actually comprehend more profound into Parashas Hamon rather than merely the segula for parnassa, I would state he should perceive it in a segula for yiras Shamayim, and consequently, you'll have parnassa as a result of such, and bracha and hatzlacha. However, Parashas Hamon's idea isn't "A + B equals C" that if one reads it, they will get parnassa. The "a plus b equals c" should be that if one studies and internalize Parashas Hamon, they will have yiras Shamayim. Accordingly, the entire equation signifies that overall, one possesses bracha and hatzlacha, but it's not reading Parashas Hamon directly; it's not that the words have some magical endowment to them. Simply the true Parashas Hamon is about internalizing, understanding Parashas Hamon, and then taking out yiras Shamayaim from the Torah, emuna, and bitachon from Parashas Hamon, which overall is becoming for your financial, spiritual, emotional, and overall wellbeing. Thus, it's not only for the financiers but for the complete person and wellbeing,

What is mon? What is the idea behind the mon?

The Gemara in Yuma, דף ע"ה עמוד א, - דף ע"ה עמוד ב tells us that the mon came with a slew of miracles. The pesukim seem to say some of them, and the Gemara adds a several more. In the pesukim, we see clearly that they received the mon once a day, direct from Shamayim. There occurred no effort involved. Today, if you tell somebody, "You'll make money with no work whatsoever," he would laugh at you and respond, "What are you talking about? It's dreams upon dreams'. Yet, that's what happened in the midbar the mon came down straight from Shamayim. We likewise know that there was an enormous Bracha in the mon itself. They consumed it, and it was misbaruk bemei'ehem, it became blessed in their intestines. The pasuk calls it "lechem habirim". Chazal explain, because it was "lechem shamalachei hashares ochlim", heavenly bread that didn't make you gain any weight, it was pure and went straight into the intestines where it's deemed to give sustenance – spiritual bread. The pasuk says, "asher lo yadu avosecha", they didn't understand what it was; therefore, they gave it the name mon "mon hu".

Furthermore, the process it befell was likewise a miracle. The resha'im had to walk farther to receive it, and the tzadikim received it straight to their door. They put out a container and all of a sudden mon arrived directly within the bowl. My Zeidy zatzal used to explain, it says in the pasuk "vayancha vayarivecha", I afflicted you, I made you hungry, and I fed you the mon. This is a pasuk in דברים, פרק ח, פסוק ג.

What does it mean "hungry"? was the mon not delicious, why would you be hungry? "Vayancha," He made you hungry? "Vayarivecha," He afflicted you and made you hungry, and He fed you the mon. So either it means until he provided you the mon, which implies that first He made you hungry and then the Aibishter said, "Don't be hungry, I'll give you the mon." Yet it's interesting, the word "vayancha" indicates that it was an affliction. Accordingly, some talk about the fact that the mon didn't have a taste, and others say it had a flavor but not a physical taste. And therefore, one had to think about what to eat. The mon seemed plain. A blind person doesn't enjoy his food because, psychologically, satisfaction comes from seeing the food. Here the Yidden didn't have the psychological pleasure of the mon[1]

My Zeidy used to tell me that Rav Naftali Trupp used to give a schmooze about why one would pay extra money for restaurant food. And said: "you're not paying for the food, which is the same food as your Bubby used to cook. You're paying for the folded napkin, the fork on the right side, and the spoon on the left side. You're paying for the external polish. Potatoes aren't made regular; they're made whipped – but it's the same potato, mashed potatoes are mashed potatoes. This the mon didn't have. When you looked at it, "mon hu" – it didn't have much of a structure. If it had some kind of structure, they would have come up with a name for it – "Mon de la Manor" or some kind of French name for the cuisine. But it was plain – delicious, don't get me wrong – but plain as plain could be, externally plain. For some, that was the hunger; it was painful because they needed that fancy dessert with all the toppings on the side.

My Zeidy zatzal said a different pshat. The Gemara says the tzadikim used to get the mon by the door, and the resha'im had to walk to get it. Let's say a person was a tzaddik, but for a few days, he was slipping a bit. Then his mon fell further away. Now, If he goes out to get it, all the neighbors will see. therefore, he would skip the meals. "Vayancha, vayarivecha" – He made you hungry. The point being that the Ribono Shel Olam gave us the mon – externally, you saw nothing but its taste, and its nutrient content was unbelievable.

The mon came down miraculously, and not only that, but it came down as a "sandwich." There was dew on top and bottom – and that's why we have lechem Mishna, and the Mishna Berura brings down the pashdida, the special kugel. It also came in double portions on Friday, so they wouldn't have to go out on Shabbos. The Gemara tells us in Yuma Ayin Hei Amud Beis that the whole world saw the mon. It was like a giant tree that rose to the sky, something that we can't even describe. so that the world would see that Hashem gave us the mon.

The pasuk tells us, "vayancha vayarivecha vayachilcha es haman", I made you hungry, I afflicted you, and then I gave you the mon – why? the pasuk continues, for you to know that a person doesn't live only on bread, that a person lives according to the mouth and word of Hashem. The mefarshim explain that it was Hashem Who put the means to sustain through food with His word. If Hashem hadn't made us hungry, hadn't afflicted us, we would still know through the mon Hashem's miracles is great, Why did we need first to be hungry and afflicted, and then get the mon? Why is it essential that we were hungry first to know that Hashem is the One Who sustains the person?

The simple explanation is that miracles are everything. And the miracles became part of us. When we were first hungry, we realized that Hashem did us good and allowed us to eat. A person can see many miracles, but he doesn't connect until it's personal. This is the explanation in the passuk. The chesed of Hashem's miracles is what influences the person, what he relates to. Showing that Hashem is great maybe for tzadikim who can sit and contemplate Hashem's greatness, but it's not enough. The way to connect to Hashem and internalize His miracles' distinction is by recognizing the chesed in the miracles.

What is Hashem's greatness? The chesed that He feeds us? Or is it the security He gives us in being there to provide us? The first bracha in Birchas Hamazon, "hazan es ha'olam kulo betuvo bechen bechesed uverachamim" – it's not just that Hashem is great bezan, but also that He's bechen, bechesed and berachamim. It's not just about bringing out how great Hashem is but even the chesed. Hu nosen lechem lechol Basar ki le'olam chasdo. Again – ki le'olam chasdo. Ki hu Kel zan umfarnes lakol umechin mazon lechol bri'osav. Mechin mazon means He gives – and earlier is hu nosen lechem lechol basar. Why isn't the mechin in the beginning, and then hu nosen? Some people bentch three times a day, but do they think about what they are saying? There are two parts to feeding someone – one part is the actual eating, and the other part is the security that the food will be there to eat. A good example that everyone can relate to is when the parents go away for the weekend and leave the kids the house to themselves. There are two types of parents – one who leaves a credit card with a few dollars so if the kid needs something; he can go to the store and buy it. Then there are the parents who leave a full fridge of food. The second type makes you feel more secure because it is all there, ready for you to eat, it's psychological – it's the security of being prepared. Part of mazon is the security that goes behind the mazon, umechin mazon lechol bri'osav. Not only does Hashem give, which is perhaps the more significant part of the chesed, He's also mechin mazon lechol bri'osav. He also provides the preparation of the food, which is the security. Also, it's how He gives it to you – He doesn't put a check down on the table and tell you to buy the food. It's all ready.

I believe that Parashas Hamon's greatness wasn't in the actual feeding but the security that it gave. To explain, if a person has to go buy his food every day, is that a good or bad thing? Turning to פרשת כי תבוא "your life will be hanging in front of you." So it says the klala clearly – in the morning you'll say "Who gives me night?", in the night you'll say "Who gives me morning?". Rashi explains in the name of Chazal that it's talking about a person who has to go to the store every day, and in the morning he has to say, "Tonight I'll go buy the food," at night he says, "Tomorrow I'll go to buy the food" – which means that he doesn't have a refrigerator full of food. He doesn't have security; he has to think about getting his next meal, which is already a chelek of the klala. ופחדת לילה ויומם – and you'll be afraid of the night, ולֹא תאמין בחייך – and you won't have security, you won't have emuna in your life. בבקר תאמר מי יתן ערב – in the morning you'll say "Who gives me night?", ובערב תאמר מי יתן בקר – and in the night you'll say "Who gives me morning?". Says Rashi, he doesn't have enough to save up and has to keep worrying about his next meal. The question is, wasn't that what happened by the mon? The Gemara in יומא דף ס"ו has a question. Why did Hakadosh Baruch Hu not do an even bigger miracle? He could have made the mon fall once a year, let them eat once a year, and let it last the entire year. It answers this through a mashal – it's compared to a human king who has one son, who comes to his father only once a year for food. But the king felt terrible, so he started giving his son food every day to see him more often.

The mon was given every day so that they should daven every day. But wasn't this the klala, to not have security? This is a tremendous question. The Gemara describes why the mon had to fall daily so that they should have to daven constantly; it itself not a Bracha but a klala. Isn't the bracha to have security? Why is it saying the Bracha is not to have security?

Without bitachon, a lack of security is excruciating. But with bitachon, a lack of security is extremely healthy. For someone without bitachon, it's excruciating to worry about where the next meal is coming from, it's a curse. But for someone with bitachon, he has Whom to turn to, and the fact that he's missing is not only not a koala but the biggest bracha that a person can have.

The mon came with a special blessing – that they knew that Hashem was giving it. They could look forward to getting from Hashem before each meal, and it was a bracha. But when they didn't feel Hashem, it was a klala. The mon itself wasn't that special because it couldn't be kept for the next day. Women feel very good when they have a fully stocked freezer, but when they start hyperventilating when they're not sure they'll have enough for the next seuda. That was the bracha of the mon.

The point we're trying to bring out is that Parshas Hamon is a segula for parnassa, but it's an even bigger segula for bitachon, which is possibly even greater wealth than parnassa. When the Brisker Rav read how the Chovos Halevavos describes bitachon, he said that the most significant wealth a person can have is bitachon itself. I saw this past week when I had to pick up an x-ray for a family member. In the radiology office, they take tests for different types of cancer and diseases, and in a room full of frum Yidden, not one person took their eyes off their Tehillim. Even when I tried to make a little conversation with someone, he didn't lookup. I realized that the only thing he needed at that moment was the Tehillim. Sometimes the greatest matana is the security of having the Ribono Shel Olam there with you. That's the point.

[1] . (We're going to talk about this a little bit later in the shiur, which is maybe what its good part was. What we think the chisaron was with the mon was actually its maila. The fact that it was only if you had in your head a thought of what you wanted it to be, instead of it coming to you, it wasn't appetising to the eye, externally. This might be the maila of the mon, we're going to discuss this.)

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