Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving's Wonder Bread Stuffing

This is the devar Torah I gave last night at the Little Neck/Douglaston Interfaith Thanksgiving Service.

Our Scripture reading for tonight (Deut. 8:3-17) reminds us that God fed the Israelites manna in the wilderness those 40 years to teach us that “man doesn’t live on bread alone.” (Dt 8:3) Miraculously this manna fell from heaven every day except our Sabbath to feed our ancestors. Consequently, I like to call this miraculous manna the very first Wonder Bread.

When the Israelites initially encountered manna they had no idea what it was.  Moses told them it was “manna or in Hebrew tuv in."  If you rearrange the letters tuv in you get the word vbunt or faith.  Israel showed great faith relying upon God’s love to feed them each and every day during the 40 years. 

Scripture is calling us to keep faith with God all year and not just around our holidays.  It is easy to feed the hungry when we celebrate Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, or Christmas.  We’re in a sharing mood.  Sadly, we tend to neglect needy come February when the food banks’ shelves are empty. 

Rabbi Hama in the name of Rabbi Hannina explained the verse in Deuteronomy 13:5 “Follow God, your Lord”:  What does this mean?  Is it possible for a mortal to follow God’s presence?  The verse means to teach us we should follow the attributes of the Holy One.  As God fed the hungry, we should feed the hungry.”

I believe this is one of the messages of the second scriptural passage.  I pray that we have the faith, emunah, to follow God all year round by sharing our bread with the hungry. Amen

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