Devarim 8:3 (Alter)
And He afflicted you and made you hunger and fed you the manna … in order to you know that not on bread alone does the human live but on every utterance of the LORD’s mouth does the human live.
There is no comparison between one who has bread in his basket and one who does not have bread in his basket. The affliction in eating the manna lay in there being no leftover food for the next day. Each day the people worried that they might not have any food to eat the next day.`
The discussion in the Talmud argues that the manna is itself an affliction? Why?
How does hunger and being fed manna make one realize that material fulfillment is not enough? Wouldn’t it teach the opposite — make you more acutely focused on food?
In modern psychology (Abraham Maslow), there is the idea of a hierarchy of needs: only after you have overcome material needs can you explore spiritual needs. Is there anyway to reconcile Moses and Maslow?
Pirkei Avot 3:17-21
Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah says: If there is no Torah, there is no worldly occupation; if there is no worldly occupation, there is no Torah. If there is no wisdom, there is no fear; if there is no fear, there is no wisdom. If there is no understanding, there is no knowledge; if there is no knowledge, there is no understanding. If there is no bread, there is no Torah; if there is no Torah, there is no bread.
How might the aphorism by Rabbi Azariah help in understanding? (Or does it just restate the question?)
Shaarei Teshuvah 1:23, Rabbeinu Yonah
For thus said the exalted and uplifted One, Who abides forever and Whose Name is holy: I abide in exaltedness and holiness, but I am with the shattered and lowly of spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the shattered.
Rabbeinu Yonah is saying that despair may lead us to be more open to connecting with God. What does your own experience teach you? Does this cast a different a light on what Moses was teaching?
Two things I ask of you; do not deny them to me before I die:
Keep lies and false words far from me;
Give me neither poverty nor riches,
But provide me with my daily bread,
Lest, being sated, I renounce, saying, “Who is the LORD?”
Or , being improverished, I take to theft
And profane the name of my God.
In Proverbs, attributed in the tradition to Solomon, the wise man is saying that both wealth and poverty are spiritually dangerous. Why?
and you say to yourselves, “My own power and the might of my own hand have won this wealth for me.” Remember that it is the LORD your God who gives you the power to get wealth …
After the corner is turned, and you experience success in life, you may start to forget God’s role. Does this strike as an accurate perception of human nature?
Sandra Day O’Connor
We don’t accomplish anything in this world alone … and whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one’s life and all the weavings of individual threads from one to another that creates something.
What you can you do to remember this?
And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God demand of you? Only this: to revere the LORD your God, to walk only in His paths, to love Him, and to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and soul.
Pirkei Avot 1:17
The main thing is not the learning but the doing.
Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler
Our learning must be for the furtherance of God’s purposes in the world. “May God rejoice in His works.” … refers to … the world of the subconscious. If Torah penetrates our subconscious, then it can engage with the world of everyday life, of human relations, of friendliness, of honesty, of giving …
Rabbi Dessler quotes Pirkei Avot that Torah is about the actions a person takes in the world. Why does he place this in the context of changing the subconscious? How is that important to having a purposeful life? How is Rabbi Dessler understanding “heart and soul”? What does heart and soul mean to you?