By Rabbi David Shasho
וַיִּרְא֣וּ בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל וַיֹּ֨אמְר֜וּ אִ֤ישׁ אֶל־אָחִיו֙ מָ֣ן ה֔וּא כִּ֛י לֹ֥א יָדְע֖וּ מַה־ה֑וּא
“When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?”—for they did not know what it was” (Shemot 16:15). Says the Ben Ish Chai the maan was one of the ten things created on Erev Shabbat before nightfall (Pirkei Avot 5:6). This teaches us the way of life according to the Torah.
The ten things created before nightfall are hints to the time of the end of the exile before the year six thousand. The six days of creation parallel the six thousand years of the world. The seventh day of creation is paralells the last thousand years of the world which will be a Shabbat (day of rest) for all those who merit to live in Olam Haba. Therefore the end of exile, which is the end of the six thousand years, is parallel to the Erev Shabbat of the days of creation. Most of the years leading to the six thousand have passed and we are still in exile. The maan was created at that time to teach us a lesson in the last years of exile. Even if a person is having financial difficulties, he should remember the maan which God provided the Jewish people in the desert. In the desert which was empty and desolate, God gave every single person – around three million people – food every single day. They were given bread from heaven which tasted like any food you could dream of.
A rabbi and a group of people once took a trip to Alaska where they witnessed firsthand Hashem’s influence in the world. They were on a ship when they passed by an area where many animals were hibernating in caves. The rabbi asked, “How do these animals survive during the brutal winter? What do they eat?” The tour guide explained that shrubbery grows around the caves where they sleep and that is enough to keep them going until they can find other food after the winter is over. גּ֣וֹל עַל־יי דַּרְכֶּ֑ךָ וּבְטַ֥ח עָ֝לָ֗יו וְה֣וּא יַעֲשֶֽׂה׃ “Leave all to God; trust in Him; He will do it” (Tehilim 37:5). No one is coming to give these animals food except God himself. If Hashem shows mercy to these animals in their time of need, how much more so to his children the Jewish people.
Every person should take time to understand and make this concept a part of his life. To have faith and trust in Hashem, the one who created and runs the world. It is upon us to rely on Hashem who can make something from nothing, especially in this generation where times may be tough and we don’t always see Hashem’s hand in everything. We must constantly build on our belief that everything is in Hashem’s hands.