Jewish Soul Journey

A BEHIND THE SCENES GLIMPSE OF OUR EARTHLY “MANNA”

 

             After the exodus from Mitzrayim
and passing through the Yam Suf , the Torah tells us of the miraculous
“Heavenly food” that sustained our entire Jewish Nation for forty years in the
desert. “Hashem said to Moshe, ‘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’.”  Thus begins the Parsha of the Mann to which it
is taught that whoever recites this parsha every day is assured that they will
not lack sustenance.  The following is an
amazing true story of some of the many forms manna can take.

              Levi married during his third
year of  learning in a ba’al teshuvah
yeshiva in Eretz Yisrael and within the year he and his wife had the first of
what was to be many children. After five years of marriage and their third
child, the Six Day war was about to begin. Levi’s American parents requested
the family return to the States for the duration of the war.  Levi and his wife reluctantly agreed to leave
and within a week landed in New York
only to find himself embroiled in another type of “war”

   After a few days of settling in the family,
in a small rented apartment,  Levi arose
early one morning  so as to have  a proper amount of time for dovening and a
leaning seder before beginning his pursuit of (parnosa) looking for a job.  Soon after Shachris, a dignified stranger approached
Levi and asked whether he said the Parsha of the Mann each day.  The impressive looking man explained that it
was written in the gemora Yerushalmi that whoever said the parsha of the  mann every day was assured of sustenance.

 Levi shyly admitted that he did not and had
not even heard of this minhag.  After the
gentleman left, Levi began to consider his words as he wanted very much to
believe this promise but the many earlier years in the secular world tended to
make him skeptical about any phenomenon that could not be explained rationally.
This was not a battle of physical prowess but a “inner war/struggle” of
overcoming years of  educational and
sociological influences.

Nonetheless, Levi had
a deep desire to bridge the seemingly large gap between his spiritual goals and
his worldly perceptions.  So before he
left the shul, Levi opened the Chumash to the Parsha of the Mann and slowly began
to read it. Someone raised in the religious community would have been able to
complete this  Parsha in about five
minutes, but Levy who hadn’t learn his first words of Hebrew until he was
twenty-four took nearly one half hour trying to be precise in the correct
pronunciation of each letter and phrase while at the same time making a sincere
effort to place the meaning of those words in his heart.

Amazingly within
seconds of  his finishing the Parsha another
elderly man gently tapped Levi on the shoulder and after saying hello and
introducing himself asked, “Young man, I see you are new to the schull, are you
in need of a job?”  Amazed Levi asked him
what he had in mind. The gentle man told him that he had a small factory and
could  use some help at this time of the
year.  Levi was speechless.   Within “toch kidei dibur” while the sounds
of the parsha were still echoing from his lips and for the one and only time in
his thirty years of life, he was approached with a job offer before he applied
or for that matter even began to look for a job.  Levi thanked him profusely, took his telephone
number and said he would consider the kind offer.

               Walking slowly back to his
rented apartment, he contemplated these events, events that most people whom he
grew up with would have allocated to  a
category called “serendipity” or coincidence 
and not given a further thought, but 
now he was deeply thinking about the timing of these events and the
words of our Sages. That part of him that wanted to believe in – haskaka pratis
– Divine intervention excitingly related the chain of mornings events to his
family.

After breakfast, Levi began
his efforts to look for a teaching job by beginning to call some of the local
Yeshivas. Since it was in the middle of the school year, he didn’t expect that he
would be able to get a full time job  but
would be happy even with a substitute position. Amazingly, the Aibishter’s
plans for him were somewhat different.  The
principle of the very first Yeshiva Levi called, after hearing his articulate
English and his educational background, offered him the possibility of a full
time position for the remainder  of the
school year. It was just that morning, the principle offered by way of
explanation, that he learned that one of his teachers was immediately moving
out of the area. The principle invited Levi to a meeting and told him that if
everything was agreeable he could begin that very day.

 Levi may have began the day with a certain narrow
mind-set  but with these two and still further
events would soon solidify a deep seeded respect and awe for words of our holy
Sages. Just as he was about to leave for his teaching interview, the mailmen delivered
their first  letter to this new address. They
quickly opened the envelope and gasped. 
Inside was a note which was from an aunt and uncle who explained that they
could not recall whether they had sent a gift to Levi and his wife when their last
baby was born several months before and added that if they had they should keep
the enclosed check also for their needs. (True the letter was mailed a few days
before but how many of you have received a nice size monetary gift on the first
day you ever said the Parsha of the Mann. 
By now Levi and his wife, who had indeed already received a check from
his aunt and uncle were now starting to feel overwhelmed and at the same time
very comforted that “Someone” above was looking out and arranging for them with
not only for jobs but even bonuses.

                  Hold on to your to hats, folks, for we
are not done yet.   A few minutes later,
Levi decided to hitchhike  to the Yeshiva.
 He watched several cars pass and finally
a young religious man stopped his car and offered him a ride. As they drove Levi
mentioned that he was on his way to begin his new job as an English teacher.
The driver then struggled in   broken English to ask Levi if he had any free
time to tutor him. He explained that  he
was born in Eretz Israel
and was now married and living here and 
really felt the need to learn better English. By now Levi was in sheer
awe by the offer of yet another  source
of income and so he responded that he would be happy to do so if they could
agree on a time and price. Levi took his number, and got out at his
destination.

                 Within minutes of their
meeting, the principle presented  the
conditions of employment, to which he agreed and that very day Levy began
teaching his new class.

            When Levi arrived home later that
evening, he was bubbling with the news of his teaching job and his possible
tutoring job and did not imagine that his wife would be anything other than a
happy excited listener.  That however was
not the case.   His wife “jumped in
first” by saying: “Guess what? While you were gone I got a call from the
principle of the local girl’s school.  She
had apparently gotten my name from one of our new neighbors.”  Levi’s wife continued:  “The principle said she was in desperate need
of a substitute  because her regular
teacher needed to take an abrupt  leave
of absence.” Almost speechless yet at the same time full of thoughtful praise
of the Creator for showing him that Manna can takes many forms, Levi realized
that his previous skepticism was now a thing of the past and that “wars” can be
won, if we cling One who created us.

          P.S. – Oh by the way, Levi did take
that tutoring job which continued twice weekly for more than six months and for
the last thirty plus years he continues to recall these wondrous events
especially as his is melodiously reading over the Parshas ha-Mann daily.

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