Daniel and Karl ponder the culinary value of manna, read some excellent midrash, and talk about the Sabbath and ecology, all while dipping (pun intended) into Ch. 16 of Exodus. You can subscribe through iTunes or any other fine podcast distributor, or listen with the player below. The midrash for this week below the player.
(Rashi) 1 on the fifteenth day: The day of this encampment is stated because on that day the cakes that they had taken out of Egypt were depleted, and they needed manna.
(Rashi) 3–targum If only we had died: Heb. מוּתֵנוּ, that we would have died, but it is not a noun like מוֹתֵנוּ, our death, but like עִשׂוֹתֵנוּ, חִנוֹתֵנוּ, שׁוּבֵנוּ, that we do, that we encamp, [that we return,] that we die. [Literally, this would be translated: Who would grant that we die.] Its targum [Onkelos, however,] is: לְוַי דְמִיתְנָא, like “If only we had died לוּ מָתְנוּ” (Num. 14:2), if only we would have died.
(Rashi) 6—you shall know that the Lord brought you out of the land of Egypt: Since you [the people of Israel] said to us [Moses and Aaron], “For you have brought us out” (verse 3), you shall know that we are not the ones who brought [you] out, but [it was] the Lord [Who] brought you out, for He will cause the quail to fly to you.
(Mechilat Yoma 75b) 8–meat to eat: But not to be satiated. The Torah [here] teaches us a rule of behavior we should not eat meat to satiety. What did He see [what reason did He have] to bring down bread in the morning and meat in the evening? Because they requested bread appropriately, since it is impossible for a person to get along without bread, but they requested meat inappropriately, because they had many animals, and furthermore, it was possible for them to get along without meat. Therefore, He gave it to them at a time when it would be a burden for them to prepare it, [at an] inappropriate [time].
(Rashi) 13—there was a layer of dew: The dew lay on the manna. But elsewhere it states: “When the dew descended [on the camp at night, the manna would descend upon it]” (Num. 11:9). [The explanation of the matter is that] the dew would descend on the earth, then the manna would descend upon it, and then [more] dew would descend upon the manna, and it was as if [the manna] was stored in a box.
(Rashi) 17–both the one who gathered much and the one who gathered little: Some gathered [too] much [manna] and some gathered [too] little, but when they came home, they measured with an omer, each one what he had gathered, and they found that the one who had gathered [too] much had not exceeded an omer for each person who was in his tent, and the one who had gathered [too] little did not find less than an omer for each person. This was a great miracle that occurred with it [the manna].
(Rashi) 21– and [when] the sun grew hot, it melted: What remained [of the manna] in the field melted and became streams from which deer and gazelles drank. And the nations of the world would hunt some of them [these animals] and taste in them the flavor of manna and know how great Israel’s praise was. — [from Mechilta]. [Onkelos renders:] פָּשָׁר, an expression of lukewarm water (פּוֹשְׁרִים). Through the sun, it [the manna] would warm up and melt.
(Rashi) 29–Let each man remain in his place: From here the Sages supported [the law of] four cubits for one who leaves the Sabbath limits [i.e., the 2,000 cubits from one’s city that one is permitted to walk and no more than four cubits from one’s place], three [cubits] for his body and one [cubit] to stretch his hands and feet. — [from Er. 51b]
(Mechilta) 32–for your generations: In the days of Jeremiah, when Jeremiah rebuked them, [saying] “ Why do you not engage in the Torah?” They would say, “Shall we leave our work and engage in the Torah? From what will we support ourselves?” He brought out to them the jug of manna. He said to them, “You see the word of the Lord” (Jer. 2:31). It does not say ‘hear’ but ‘see.’ With this, your ancestors supported themselves. The Omnipresent has many agents to prepare food for those who fear Him.”
(BT Yoma 52b) 33
But wasn’t it taught in a baraita that when the Ark was buried, along with it was buried the jar of manna that was next to it, and the flask of oil used for anointing, and Aaron’s staff with its almonds and blossoms, and the chest that the Philistines sent as a gift [doron] to the God of Israel after they captured the Ark and were stricken by several plagues, as it is stated: “And put the jewels of gold that you return to Him for a guilt-offering, in a coffer by its side, and send it away that it may go” (I Samuel 6:8)?
(BT Kidushin 38a; Rashi) 35–forty years: Now were not thirty days missing? The manna first fell on the fifteenth of Iyar, and on the fifteenth of Nissan it stopped, as it is said: “And the manna ceased on the morrow” (Josh. 5:12). Rather [this] tells [us] that in the cakes the Israelites took out of Egypt they tasted the flavor of manna.
(BT Eruvin 38b; Rashi) 36—one tenth of an ephah: The ephah equals three se’ahs, and the se’ah equals six kavs, and the kav equals four logs, and the log equals six eggs. [Hence, an ephah equals 3 x 6 x 4 x 6 = 432 eggs. I.e., the space displaced by 432 eggs.] We find that a tenth of an ephah equals forty-three and a fifth [43.2] eggs. This is the amount for challah [the minimum amount of flour that requires the separation of challah] and for meal offerings