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    Not bread alone – Ekev

    Marie Antoinette said, “If they have no bread, let them eat cake”.

    The problem is that if you have no bread, you are not likely to have cake either. But if you do have bread, do you have enough?

    “No,” says the Torah: “Man does not live by bread alone; a man lives by the utterance of the mouth of the Lord” (Deut. 8:3).

    Here too there is a paradox. If you have the Divine word but no bread, you cannot really live either, for if you are starving your mind, heart and spirit are focussed on one thing, and that is not likely to be metaphysical.

    This is why the sages say in Pir’kei Avot (3:21), “When there is no flour there is no Torah”.

    But yet another paradox: the statement in Avot continues, “When there is no Torah there is no flour”.

    True, the hungry person is obsessed with food, but the way to food needs the Torah of honesty (don’t steal and take food from others) and the Torah of purpose (why do I need food? in order to live and to have a cause to direct my life).

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