Staff of Faith

Ilan update: He has been off of sedation (very good) and is responsive to pain stimulus including opening his eyes (great) but is still unconscious (less good). This is excellent progress so far. The next target for the doctors is to get him off of the respirator and have him breath on his own. He has started initiating breathing on his own which gives us much hope. For anyone wanting further updates, when you email me I’ll email back what I know at the time.

Deuteronomy Hizkuni: Ekev

Staff of Faith

For forty years, the Children of Israel looked heavenward for their sustenance. Literally. One accounting of the miracle of the Ma’an was that it descended from the sky sandwiched between layers of cloud. When the cloud/Ma’an combination reached the ground, the upper cloud dissolved, revealing a cream-colored doughy food – their daily bread.

In Western culture, bread is referred to as the ‘staff of life’. It is the basic sustenance that supports man in his endeavors (in the East it is rice – the ‘bowl of life’? – I need someone from the Orient to give me the cultural references…).

Rabbi Hezekiah ben Manoach (Hizkuni) explains that the Ma’an needed to be a daily experience. By making us dependent on the Ma’an for nourishment it cultivated the faith of the Children of Israel.

Hizkuni makes use of the famous Talmudic dictum “you cannot compare a man with his pita in his basket, to one without a pita in his basket.” If we are provided for ahead of time, if our ‘baskets are full’ then we naturally feel less dependent on God. If our basket is empty, if we need to look heavenward daily for support, then we connect with and even feel God with greater intensity. We cultivate faith to see God providing for us actively and consistently on a daily basis.

That is what the generation that grew up in the desert experienced. In our modern age only a small percentage of the population reading this wants for food daily (if you’re illiterate or don’t own a computer, then you indeed may be amongst the masses that rely on God for your daily ration). However, there are multiple other things in our lives that we lack daily and we may beseech God for. God wants this reality. He wants us to connect with Him. He wants us to turn to Him for the areas in our life that require assistance.

A major area of assistance that we have called on this week is health. We have prayed daily, intensely, with great emotion for the healing of Tzvi Ilan ben Gita. His daily lack of health has spurred a call to God. It has engendered the faith in God that He is The Provider of Everything – health not the least of them.

May we see God’s hand and munificence in all our daily needs and in the complete recovery of Ilan.

Shabbat Shalom,



To all of our friends and family that have reached out to us and given us tremendous help and caring. You are providing our daily Ma’an of support.

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