We are all familiar with the old adage. If you want to get to the next level, you have to work hard for it and even experience a little pain in order to make progress.

Moshe tells the people that “Hashem fed you Manna in the desert in order to afflict you and to test you, to do good for you in the end”. The Manna was a great miracle. For 40 years the people were fed miraculously each day when Manna fell from Heaven. Sounds like a great deal. You don’t have to work, and the food appears. And it tasted like anything you wanted. What is the test? Sforno comments that the test was would they observe the Torah even when they didn’t have to worry about their livelihood. When things are going well, it is easier to forget about Hashem and the fact that everything we have comes from Him. Wealth can be as big a test as poverty. If you do not need to work for your living, how will you use your time. Will you use it to help people, to learn more, to connect to Hashem? Or will you indulge in your own pleasures without any higher goal?

The Hebrew word for “to test you” is L’Nasoscho”. The Chofetz Chaim explains that the root of the word has multiple meanings. It means to test, and it also means to raise up or to elevate. These two meanings complement each other. In order for a person to grow, they have to be challenged. A human being has enormous potential. Hashem provides us with challenges and life situations that test us and force us to make choices. At the same time, these challenges provide us with the opportunity to grow from the experience. We don’t know what we are capable of until we have to deal with adversity or a difficult situation.  It is these situations where we have the opportunity to “rise to the occasion”, that enables us to become better people.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Shaps and the JET Team