Â Shimon said, Why didn’t G-d bring Mannah for the whole year at once? Why did G-d bring it in daily portions?
It is similar to a king who would support his son by giving him all of his sustenance once a year. Then, the son visited his father only when there was something lacking. The king decided to give his son a daily ration, which caused the son to come visit daily. So, too, G-d wanted the Jews to turn their hearts to Him.Â He gave them their daily portion of Manna, so that each day, the Jew would wait, hopefully, to receive it, so that the family would not starve to death in the desert. This forced the Jew to pray. (Sifri)
This is a very Jewish concept. G-d does not need us to pray in order for him to solve our problems. Rather, He brought us problems because He wants our prayers.
According to the Mayo clinic, close to half of hospital beds are occupied by people with real sicknesses that are results from worrying, stress, or other emotional causes (such as jealousy, not accepting reality, or not accepting one’s self) . People who cannot control their worrying die young. So, why did G-d create the emotion of worry, if its results are so severe? Because he wants us to pray. The human psyche is programmed in such a way that if a man cannot stop worrying, he can’t survive: he needs prayer to stay sane. Without sincere prayer (and not justÂ the lip service ritual), Man can go bananas. G-d does not need us to worry and stress, and He does not need us to solve our problems. He just wants us to realize how much we need Him.
Rabbi Shimon teaches us how to overcome worry. The Mannah was given to the generation that accepted the Torah. The Torah cannot be learnt by someone who is worried about Tomorrow. The On/Off switch for learning is Emotions and controlling them. If you cannot fight worry, you will never reach peak performance of study; you will not be able to focus. The Mannah was the ultimate lesson for all yeshiva students. If you want to stay in learning, you need to be able to ignore the future, leaving it up to G-d. So, how does one do it? By living in the Now.
Mordechai Ben David had a song I can never forget; I remember it clearly, from my youth. He got the words from the Ibn Ezrah. ×”×¢×‘×¨ ××™×Ÿ ×•×”×¢×ª×™×“ ×¢×“×™×™×Ÿ ×•×”×”×•×•×” ×›×”×¨×£ ×¢×™×Ÿ- ×“××’×” ×ž× ×™×Ÿ. Â The past is gone. The future has not yet come. And the present disappears in a blink. So, why worry? In other words, all worry is from thoughts of the past or future. All bliss is in the Now. All worries boil down to either “Crying over spilt milk”, or “Crossing your bridges before you reach them.” Past and Future.
Take Yolo for example. Yolo is a new, delicious pudding/mousse in a variety of flavors you may find in the dairy refrigerator, in the supermarket, made by the company. It is sweet, smooth, and expensive. It is not good for your diet. But, it tastes great. So, how does Tnuva convince you to buy it again and not worry about the calories, or that fat you will need to burn tomorrow when you restart your diet? When you open the cover of this mousse/pudding, there is another cover that says, “You only live once”.Â Yolo stands for “you only live once”, so you might as well enjoy life to the max.
That is a powerful statement. You only live once, and you have Today only once. People spend most of their lives living in the past, or living in the future, just not to live in the present and enjoy and be thankful for the Now. But, today is the tomorrow of yesterday, and by tomorrow, today will be just a memory. This concept of Now is the cornerstone of being the best Jew you can be. Being able to enjoy and be thankful for today. Â ×–×” ×”×™×•× ×¢×©×” ×”’ × ×’×™×œ×” ×•× ×©×ž×—×” ×‘×•. You live today only once, so when are you going to thank G-d for today? When are you going to slow down in Birkot Hashachar and think about what you are saying? Worrying is the antonym of Tefillah. If a person were to pray sincerely, he wouldn’t worry. This is why, according to the Abuhab, we stand with our feet together in prayer. It is not only to stand one-legged, as if we were angels. It is to relay the message that we are helpless, without G-d. We can’t get anywhere without Him, and everywhere we’ve gotten until now, is with His help. What a humbling, empowering, thought.
The Mannah is the lesson that if you have food for today, you are okay. If you have a bed to sleep in for tonight, things will turn out all right. Why? Because just as G-d has taken care of you until now, he will take care of you Tomorrow. This is what Emunah means. Emunah is not just Faith. Emunah’s root is Omen, a word that is used in this week’s Parasha and which refers to a parent or caretaker who nurtures a helpless child. Jewish Faith is the belief that we need G-d for EVERYTHING, and He is involved in EVERYTHING. That is right. As much as it hurts the ego to feel that we are helpless without G-d, it is the most empowering thought, knowing that you have a G-d to pray to. This is a new reason to stay religious. Being irreligious has a very expensive price tag. It is called worry. Be religious, just so that you can have a G-d to help you manage.
So, just remember: YOLTO. You only live today once. Enjoy it. Make the best of it. Start praying. And stop worrying .