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Cravings (This week’s Torah portion – Behalosescha / Behalotecha)

One of the major themes of this week’s parashah is taavah which is usually translated as “desire” or “craving”. It’s interesting to me for several reasons and I’d love to hear other people’s take on it. It seems to me one of the stranger episodes in the entire Torah.

The Jewish People have been out of Egypt for over a year, headed slowly but surely towards the Promised Land. Despite the harsh environment of the desert wilderness, they are being miraculously sustained by the protective “Clouds of Glory,” fresh drinking water, and Manna from Heaven. They also have ample herds of sheep. Nonetheless, the Torah tells us:

“The rabble that was among them cultivated a craving, and the Children of Israel also wept once more, and said, ‘Who will feed us meat? We remember the fish that we ate in Egypt free of charge, the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic. But now, our life is parched, there is nothing; we have nothing to anticipate but the Manna.” [Numbers 11:4-6]

If you didn’t know anything about the Manna, you might sympathize. Those who are supposedly God’s special people, taken out of Egypt with great miracles, experiencing countless miracles in the wilderness since then — would it be so hard for God to put a bit of variety on the menu?

Therefore, to better understand the impropriety of their complaint, the parshah goes on to describe this supposedly “monotonous” Manna. It turns out that Manna was not only tasty, but was miraculously convenient and versatile. It was a perfect food! So why are they complaining — even weeping?

Even more puzzling than their complaints is God’s reaction:

“God will give you meat and you will eat … until it comes out of your nose, and becomes nauseating to you, because you have rejected God who is in your midst, and you have wept before him, saying, ‘Why did we leave Egypt?’” [v. 18-20].

Why does God respond with such harsh words? What’s the lesson the Torah is teaching us?

Surely there is nothing sinful about craving in itself; that’s merely a biological function of the body that God gave us.

What’s your take on it???

Shabbat Shalom

submitted by /u/TorahHealth
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Source: Reditt