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  • Writer's pictureNortheast Kollel

Eikev: When Less is More

Rabbi Yonah Burr

ויענך וירעבך ויאכלך את המן אשר לא ידעת ולא ידעון אבתיך
He afflicted you and made you hungry, and fed you the Manna that neither you nor your forefathers ever knew

What is the meaning of the Pasuk when it states, “He afflicted you and made you hungry?” Why would Hashem afflict us and make us hungry?

Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l explains this beautifully.

When Hashem took us out of Egypt, and brought us into the desert, He obviously knew that we would need a miracle to survive. Hashem always knows what we need and knows what He is doing!

In fact, declares Rav Moshe, Hashem’s initial plan was that we would subsist on no food at all. Hashem would have created a miracle, overriding the need to eat! This can be compared to Moshe Rabbeinu’s forty-day stay on Har Sinai. Moshe neither ate nor drank, nor slept the entire time he was on the mountain learning with Hashem.

However, we worried. We complained that we needed food and provisions -- even before we felt hungry. Therefore, Hashem indeed made us hungry, and put the need and desire for food back into us.

He did provide us with the miraculous Manna, but had we not asked, the miracle would have been even greater. We received more, but we would have needed less.

Rav Moshe brings a wonderful proof to this- the Jewish People for whatever reason did not complain, and were not worried about where they would procure proper clothing and shoes. And indeed, a miracle occurred that they didn’t need to change their clothing; the clouds of glory washed and pressed their clothing while they were wearing it! Imagine free dry-cleaning! And not only that, but the children did not need to replace their clothing as they grew, the clothing grew along with them.

While I was preparing this D’var Torah, I realized that Rav Moshe taught us this important concept earlier as well. In Parshas Behar, Hashem sent His blessing to the sixth year that it would produce enough to last through the seventh and into the eighth. But this was prompted by the ‘ask’. Had we not asked, it would not have been necessary to increase the volume of food, rather the blessing would have been in the quality.

We are taught this concept again and again; let us trust in Hashem, and be confident that He will

provide us with our needs! We are required to daven, to help us focus and acknowledge that everything comes from Hashem, as well as a way to accrue merit, but it should never be out of despair, rather out of confidence!

Have a wonderful Shabbos.

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