June 2, 2014

60 Days of Growth – Take Only What You Need (Day 35)

shutterstock_29800543You may have heard of ma’an, or Manna. This was the spiritual food that God gave the Jewish people in the desert, we are told many stories as children about this mystical food and the many miracles that surrounded it, but today I want to talk about the lesson we can learn from it. The Torah tells us, “וַיִּלְקְטוּ אֹתוֹ בַּבֹּקֶר בַּבֹּקֶר, אִישׁ כְּפִי אָכְלוֹ – and each morning they gathered it, each person took only what they could eat”. In today’s world, we have all you can eat buffets, we have limitless resources and potentially unlimited supplies. This has led to many good things in our lives, we do not need to worry about where our food will come from, nor do we have to work from dusk until dawn for our food. But, with all these great things, there have been negative outcomes as well, America has an epidemic of obesity, children grow up with an attitude that there is never an end to what they can have, and people often binge themselves beyond what is healthy.

We have discussed in some previous posts that Judaism wants us to emulate God and be givers, not takers. We should always strive to give and not take, but Judaism is also realistic. We know that, although we are supposed to try and be like God, in the end of the day we need to eat and drink to survive, at the very core of it we need to take. So the Torah turns around and tells us how to behave, take only what you need. Obviously, we need to take a little bit in order to survive and carry-on giving and improving the world, but we should to only take what we need, not more and not less, just like the Jews in the desert were told to do with the ma’an.

Today’s Jewish mission is to try and take only what you need today, no more, no less. Don’t gorge yourself, watch too much television, or take that joy-ride. Don’t be wasteful. This also means, don’t starve yourself, stay hydrated and make sure to relax when you need to by watching TV, reading a book or going for a walk; Judaism isn’t looking for you to be ascetic, just for you to be conscientious of what you take and aware of its impact.