Message of Manna [Daily Bread]
Part of Moshe’s will and testament includes a description of how
He fed you with the manna which you did not know… in order to teach you that not on bread alone can man live; rather, man can live on anything that comes from the mouth of
Lechem, bread,shares a root with milchama, war. Lechem is the food that man wrests from nature, in competition with his fellow men. Bread is the result of nature combined with the intelligence man uses to master the world. Bread — both in its literal sense, and also in its figurative sense of livelihood — is seemingly the product of human intelligence and social cooperation. But creative human power alone cannot produce bread nor livelihood. Rather, the prime factor in man’s sustenance, all too often overlooked, is
One forgets this at his own peril. The need to provide for ourselves and our families is so legitimate and pressing that were we to believe that it can be met only by our efforts, other considerations would easily fall away. We could easily persuade ourselves that any gain wrested from nature or from fellow men will assure our sustenance, and the means by which we gained our bread would be irrelevant.
But even if the need for sustenance would not so trample our moral sense, the delusion that our fortune is in our own hands would lead to another undesirable result: our thoughts and efforts would undoubtedly be directed beyond our current needs, even beyond our future needs. We would easily become preoccupied with providing for the future of our children and grandchildren. As a result, the concern for breadwinning would become an endless race, leaving us neither time nor energy for purely spiritual and moral concerns.
This is why in the wilderness we were nourished with a bread that lacked the stamp of human achievement.
- Source: Commentary, Devarim 8:3