Shabbat Parashat Eikev| 5764
Mouth to Mouth (Spiritual) ResuscitationHarav Moshe Ehrenreich
One of the trials that Bnei Yisrael had to undergo in the desert is described as follows in our parasha. “He afflicted you and let you hunger, and He fed you the manna … in order to inform you that not by bread alone shall man live, but by all that emanates from Hashem’s mouth (motza pi Hashem)shall man live” (Devarim 8:3).
The Ibn Ezra wonders how it is possible to speak simultaneously about Hashem causing hunger and feeding. Two of his answers diverge from the simple meaning. One answer is that the hunger preceded the giving of the manna. Another answer is that the hunger refers to other human desires that Hashem did not provide for in the desert. But how do we explain the simple p’shat? We also need to try to understand the connection between eating the manna and realizing that man lives on motza pi Hashem.
The Tur (Orach Chayim 208) cites a version of the beracha after eating the fruits of “the seven species,” as follows: “venochal mi’piryah v’nisba mituva (we shall eat from its fruit and be satiated from its goodness).” The Tur objects, as this stresses the fruit of Eretz Yisrael, while we should covet the Land in order to fulfill the mitzvot that are linked to it. The Beit Yosef deals with this issue by explaining that we indeed give importance to the eating of Eretz Yisrael’s fruit, but because it enables us to say the next words, “and we will bless You over it in holiness and purity.” The Bach goes further, saying that the eating of the Land’s fruits itself has sanctity, as the fruit gets sanctity from the Land, which gets sanctity from the “Divine Land.” It is because of this sanctity that we are warned, “Do not defile the Land that you are living in, in the midst of which I dwell, for I am Hashem, who dwells among Bnei Yisrael” (Bamidbar 35:34). Since the Divine Presence is literally in the Land, then by eating the fruit, the Presence is found in our midst, as well. However, if we defile the Land, says the Bach, the fruit will be nourished from impurity, and we will lose the sanctity by means of the process.
We can now explain our pasuk in an interesting way, based on the Bach. The highest role of eating is to have motza pi Hashem enter the body through the foods. This was clear when eating the manna, as it did not bring physical satiation. This is, in fact, the Ibn Ezra’s third explanation (which he rejects) of the aforementioned hunger. Bnei Yisrael did not have the normal, physical sensation of satiation. As the phenomenon of eating the manna left Bnei Yisrael with only spiritual, not physical satiation, one could truly say that eating it taught Bnei Yisrael that one does not live just on bread, but rather on motza pi Hashem.
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