Pursuit of what?


Pursuit of what?

February 27, 2017
Orit Esther Riter

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The Torah states that Moshe Rabbeinu bitterly complained to HaKadosh Baruch Hu, “… Did I give birth to them (Ahm Yisrael), that You say to me, ‘Carry them (Ahm Yisrael) in your bosom as the nurse (oman) carries the suckling.  From where have I meat to give to this entire nation?” (Bamidbar 11:12). The root word of oman is the same as for emuna.

Just as the mother’s milk is vital in the growth of her infant, so too does emuna play an exceptionally important role in the life of a Jew.  The newborn needs to be nurtured in order to develop into a healthy individual.  Similarly, the Jewish soul must be supported through thoughts, words and acts of emuna to vitalize the body with strength to live and assist the soul to fulfill its mission.

However in the incident above Moshe feels he can no longer care for the Jewish people and nurture their emuna.  Why did he meet ‘ends rope’ when he was asked to provide meat for Ahm Yisrael? After all this wasn’t the first time he was pressed with complaints from them.

This instance though was different since it depicted a nation who simply wished for meat to satisfy their physical cravings and not for existential purposes.  This imparts a serious problem – here Ahm Yisrael pursued their material lusts severed from spiritual intent.  A person can never completely gratify his bodily desires as taught in Kohelet, “A man does not die having fulfilled half of his lusts.”  One lust leads to another to no end.

A great emuna lesson is taught here – emuna cannot be ingrained unless we trim our material pursuits.  The drive for constant material gain is persistently met with dissatisfaction and complaints; a fortress and barrier that prevents emuna from growing.

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