Rabbi Neal J. Loevinger
The Test Of The Manna
The manna tested the character of the newly freed Israelites--how they would respond to a situation of plenty and how they would cultivate their relationship with God
The Israelites leave Egypt after the final plagues force Pharaoh to surrender; however, once the Israelites have left their slavery, Pharaoh has a change of heart and decides to chase after them with his army. The Israelites come to the Sea of Reeds, but are able to cross on dry land after God parts the waters, which then come together and drown the pursuing Egyptian army. Moses sings his "Song of the Sea," and Miriam leads the women in dance and rejoicing.
Still, the people are dissatisfied with conditions in the wilderness, and repeatedly complain, despite the fact that God provides them with "manna" and water. At the end of the parsha, there is a dramatic battle with the nation Amalek.
"God said to Moses: 'See here, I will rain down for them food from heaven, and the people will go out and collect a daily portion every day. Thus I will test them, whether they will follow My Torah or not'" (Exodus 16:5).
The Hebrew people have escaped to freedom in the wilderness only to find that there is no food or water in the desert; they complain and even nostalgically recall the food they ate in Egypt as slaves. They seem to blame Moses for their troubles; he, in turn, reminds them that it was God who took them out of Egypt.
God responds that God will provide food from heaven--the "manna"--as much as each person needs, with a double portion on Fridays so that the people do not need to gather on Shabbat. Each day the manna will fall, and whatever is left over will go bad; the people must collect their portion every day, and not attempt to hoard it.
The 15th-century Sephardic [Spanish or Mediterranean] Torah commentator R. Yitzhak Abarvanel (d.1508) notices a fundamental problem with this verse: When we say that someone is being "tested," we assume that they are going to have to do something difficult. The classic example from the Torah is in Genesis 22, when God "tested" Avraham by asking him to bring his son Yitzhak as a sacrifice.
However, as Abarvanel points out, God's beneficence in providing the miraculous "food from heaven" seems like an act of lovingkindness, not a difficult challenge! What kind of test is it to provide someone with food and water that they simply collect without any trouble at all?
Nevertheless, the plain meaning of the verse is that God is giving Israel some kind of temptation or challenge. Rashi interprets the phrase "follow my Torah" as applying specifically to the instructions pertaining to the manna. Thus, for Rashi, the test that God gives the Israelites is whether they will follow the specific commandments not to leave the manna over till the next day, and not to go out collecting it on Shabbat. (See verses 16:19-27.)
Rabbi Neal Joseph Loevinger is currently the rabbi of Temple Beth-El in Poughkeepsie, NY.
For further insight on the parsha, please visit:
2 Sandy Birnholtz
2 Alana Kuhn
3 Aviad Kapen
4 Aviva Lupovitch
5 David Sable
6 Lorraine Rimar
6 Corey Rosen
7 Ellen Kershenbaum
11 Laurie Kimmel
11 Warren Robinson
12 Joan Freedman
13 Joseph Eisman
13 Kobi Schmeltz
17 Rachel Margolis
18 Benjamin Schmeltz
20 Julian Nusbaum
21 Gail Beale
21 Susan Feber
23 David Hundiak
25 Itzhak Elrom
28 Amnon Reiter
29 David Chudnow
31 Robin Pappas
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Refuah Sh'leimah/Wishing a Speedy Recovery
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|SHABBAT SHALOM |
Our entire synagogue community extends heartfelt condolences to the following members on the deaths of their parents this past week:
To Joanna (Jay) Abramson on the death of Joanna's father, Walter M. Stark.
To Jonathan (Beth) Lowe on the death of Jonathan's mother, Ida Millstein Lowe
To Ram Orzach (Karen) on the death of Ron's mother, Rachel Orzach.
May all their memories be for a blessing. May they all be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.
To Larry and Elyn Charlupski on the engagement of their son Cory to Erin Prober.
To Michael and Marybeth Rosen on the engagement of their son Jordan to Anna Jackson.
To Jay Brown and Michelle Tukel on the recent birth of their granddaughter, Sophie Alice to parents Meryl Kramer and Benji Brown.
To Hilda Hamburger for sponsoring minyan breakfast marking the yahrtzeit of her beloved father, Morris Fishman.
To Bonnie Sorkin for sponsoring minyan breakfast marking the yahrtzeit of her beloved father, Saul Garfinkle.
Brownie Troop 613/Girl Scout Troop 613 Open House
Sunday, January 27th
12:30-2, Congregation Shaarey Zedek.
Launching of new Brownie and Girl Scout Troops.
Camp Ramah in Canada Open House
Sunday, January 27th, 6:30 p.m.
at the home of Daniel and Marni Cherrin.
Sunday, February 3rd, 12:30p.m.-2p.m.
Please consider the synagogue when looking for a place for a charitable contribution or in your estate planning.
Shabbat Services: Beshallach, Shabbat Shira
Friday, January 25th
6 p.m. Services, Chapel
Saturday, January 26th
9 a.m. Services, Sanctuary
Kiddush Lunch is sponsored by Evan and Lesiie Chudnow and by Temple Kol Ami.
Kiddush Lunch is available through the generosity of weekly sponsors. Please e-mail or call Mindy Shuback (248) 752-6046 or call the synagogue office if you would like to sponsor a kiddush lunch. You may also make a donation to the synagogue specifically for the Kiddush Lunch Fund by clicking here.
with Dr. Mitch Parker
This class is held on Shabbat mornings in the lower level, Room 9.
January 26 11 a.m.
February 10 and February 24, 10 a.m.
Upcoming Youth and Family Activities
Ice Skating: February 3, 2013
for more information.
Upcoming Youth Services
Supervised Youth Activities, Room 3, lower level
January 26, February 9
February 16 (special program), February 23
To stay current on all youth and family activities, contact Ilana Glazier to join the B'nai Israel Families Facebook Group.
|Upcoming Community Events
TKA/BI Joint Opportunities
BOOK CLUB (Adults)
Book Club meets on the third Sunday of every month. All are welcome.
Sunday, February 17th Gossip: The Untrivial Pursuit by Joseph Epstein (non-fiction)
Sunday, March 17th: The Invisible Bridge
by Jullie Orringer (fiction)
Sunday, April 21st: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (memoir)
TKA Sisterhood Day of Beauty:
February 10th, 12p.m.-3p.m.
$25.00 includes lunch and beauty consult
RSVP by February 1st to Connie Silver: 248-851-2149 or
KNITTING has returned!
Not a knitter? All stitchers are welcome. Bring your needlepoint, crochet hook or cross stitch and join the group. There is no charge to attend.
7 PM at the TKA/BI building.
FUTURE DATES: 2/13, 3/13, 4/24/ 5/21, 6/10
Just drop-in! No registration required. For more information, e-mail Gail Raben.
81st INTER-CONGREGATIONAL MEN'S CLUB DINNER
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
6 p.m., Temple Israel. Click here for complete program information and downloadable reservation form.
Dietary laws observed.
Monday and Thursday mornings, 7:00 a.m.
Rosh Chodesh mornings, 7:00 a.m.
Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, 7:15 a.m.
Monday-Friday evenings, 6 p.m.
Sunday Morning, 8:30 a.m.
Sunday evenings, 5 p.m.
Legal Holidays, 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Caring Community Information
Our caring community reaches out to one another in a variety of ways. We welcome our new members warmly with a special visit and gift. We provide shiva minyan leaders. We call/visit/provide meals for members who are ill or home-bound, bring a home-cooked shiva meal to mourners in our community, and help to drive members who need a ride to synagogue services and events. If you would like to help in any way, please call or e-mail the synagogue.
|May Their Memories Be For a Blessing |
1/2/2013 (20 Tevet)
Ela Osher Dzodin
1/3/2013 (21 Tevet)
Morris Band, Hyman Ribiat Robert, Max Wasserman
1/4/2013 (22 Tevet)
1/5/2013 (23 Tevet)
Edsel Kershenbaum, Muriel Trager
1/7/2013 (25 Tevet)
Mildred Robinson, Lillian Saulson
1/8/2013 (26 Tevet)
David Jacknow, Louis Weiss
1/9/2013 (27 Tevet)
Harriett J. Beale
1/11/2013 (29 Tevet)
1/13/2013 (2 Shevat)
Tillie Lantor, Edith Tucker
1/14/2013 (3 Shevat)
1/15/2013 (4 Shevat)
Morris Fishman, Marie Garnick, Lisa Goldstone, Nancy Lynn Precour
1/16/2013 (5 Shevat)
1/20/2013 (9 Shevat)
Lois Shirley Pappas
1/22/2013 (11 Shevat)
1/25/2013 (14 Shevat)
David Benisty, Mel Rogoff
1/26/2013 (15 Shevat)
Dr. David Eisman
1/27/2013 (16 Shevat)
Sheila Cohen, Harry Doneson
1/28/2013 (17 Shevat)
Sam Isaacs, Alvin Nusbaum
1/31/2013 (20 Shevat)
To make a donation to commemorate a yahrtzeit, please click here. If you are a member of the synagogue and a yahrtzeit for your loved one is not on the list, please contact the synagogue office so the information can be added to our records.
Please contact the synagogue office if you wish to permanently memorialize a loved one by purchasing a yahrtzeit plaque.