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    The Manna was a test – Ekev

    The Gathering of the Manna, by James Tissot

    The manna, the miraculous food which sustained the Israelites for 40 years in the wilderness, was a gift from God.

    For some reason the Torah calls it a test: “He fed you in the wilderness with manna in order to put you to the test” (Deut. 8:3,16). Abravanel remarks, “Surely this was a great kindness, not a test!”

    Rashi explains that the people were in fact being tested to see whether they obeyed the command not to leave any manna overnight and not to collect it on Shabbat. The manna was a gift that came with conditions. If the people fell on it like savages and ignored the rules imposed by the Almighty, they would have failed the test.

    From this we learn a wider lesson for life. Life, like the manna, is a gift, but it comes with conditions.

    If we say, “It’s my own life and I can do what I like with it,” we fail the test. It shows we cannot be trusted with a precious gift.

    If we live without restraints and standards we injure ourselves and waste our potentialities. If we cherish every moment and act with moderation and responsibility, we pass with colours flying.

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