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    Not on bread alone – Ekev

    breadThe sidra has a famous verse, “Not by bread alone does a person live” (Deut. 8:3).

    Marie Antoinette – who had no idea how ordinary people lived and struggled – used to say, “If they don’t have bread, let them eat cake”.

    The rabbinic sages had more sense. Not only did they know that getting bread on the table is already an achievement, but they recognised that the bread is enhanced by eating something with it – oil, condiments, cheese, whatever – as well as having something to drink at the same time – water, wine, milk, whatever.

    They had many thoughts about the Torah verse, and one of them was that a crucial word was “and” – “bread and butter, bread and jam, bread and water”.

    “And” is a great word in every part of life. Just as bread alone is not enough, so man is not enough if he is alone, which is why the Torah says early on, “It is not good for man to be on his own” (Gen. 2:18). Man’s life is made meaningful by company, especially marriage – man and wife, man and friend.

    The greatest “and” is in the spiritual sphere – man and God.

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