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Tehillim Tools: Psalm 78:25: Rashbi: Eating as the Angels

“Bread of the Mighty angels, man did eat, provisions He set forth for satisfaction (Psalms 78:25).” So taught Rav Hamnunah Sabah: Why does the verse compare a person’s eating to that of the angels? To teach us that just as the Angels eat with Sanctity, Purity, and Cleanliness, so too, Israel must eat with sanctity and purity, as the verse says, “You shall make yourselves holy (Vayikra 11:44),” referring to washing our hands before we eat to achieve sanctity, purity, and cleanliness, (The list of three is the source of the custom of those who was each hand three times rather than the custom of two times each hand.) “for holy (ibid), this refers to good oil, “am I, God (ibid),” refers to Birchat haMazon, “and you will be holy,” for all who eat with sanctity, purity, and cleanliness, are compared to the Ministering Angels, who are holy (Zohar Chadash, Ruth 82a)


The simple reading of the verse refers to Adam eating of the food prepared by God in the Garden of Eden. Rav Hamnunah Sabah teaches us that Adam was given the opportunity to eat that way, so that all his descendants would be able to access the same opportunity. The potential is part of our being.

The sanctity, purity, and cleanliness, are described by Rav Hamnunah as Sanctity before we eat; washing Netillat Yadaim, Purity in what we eat; ‘good oil,” enjoying the food as a direct blessing from God, and Cleanliness, as reciting Birchat haMazon, so that our eating was “clean,” free of physical limitation, and completely connected to the Source.

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