Lechem Mishneh: Back To The Beginning V
“God said to Moses, Behold! I shall rain down for you food from heaven; let the people go out and pick each day’s portion on its day, so that I can test them, whether they will follow My Teaching or not. And it shall be that on the sixth day when they prepare what they will bring, it will be double what they pick every day.” (Exodus 16:4-5)
“So that I can test them, whether they will follow My Teaching or not.” Which teachings? Rashi teaches that they would be tested on whether they would obey the command not to leave any over for the next morning and whether they would refrain from going out on Shabbat to collect Manna.
The Manna would spoil if left overnight. They learned that the first night. Why would anyone try again? Was the test only for one night? – By the way: This was not the first time they were instructed to not leave anything over until morning. They received the same instructions for the Pesach Offering.
Why would they go out on Shabbat to collect Manna that wasn’t there? The same people learned that lesson on the first Shabbat. Was the test only for that first Shabbat?
How were these challenging tests?
They were challenging in the same way that the commandment to refrain from eating of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was a challenging test.
If I have to destroy any leftovers and leave myself without food for the morning, I am being asked to acknowledge that the food is not mine. When, all of a sudden, I have a double portion on Friday and may keep the extra portion overnight, I begin to believe that the food is mine. That small difference is enough to ignite the desire for more and the drive to go out and search.
But the double portion of Manna is not ours, but the Shabbat’s: “He sanctified it,” that no manna would fall on Shabbat. “He blessed it,” that a double portion would fall on Friday. The Friday Manna belongs to Shabbat, just as the Tree of Knowledge belonged to God.
When we eat the Shabbat Challot, we are ingesting Shabbat in a physical form.