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    Remembering the miracle – B’shallach

    Jewish life is full of signs and symbols.

    We remember the Exodus by means of the matzah and maror. We remember the wandering in the wilderness by sitting in the sukkah.

    But something seems to be missing – a symbol to remind us of the manna.

    Manna was really a magnificent miracle. For forty years it sustained the Israelites in the desert. Not for a day did God leave us to be hungry (though the ungrateful people complained nonetheless).

    This must be one of the things that the Amidah has in mind when it thanks God for the miracles “which are with us every day, evening, morning and noon”.

    But can there not be a symbol somewhere to remind us of the miracle?

    In truth there is. Think of the two challot that have pride of place on the Shabbat table – a weekly reminder that on the sixth day of each week the Israelites collected a double portion of manna, one for Friday and one for Shabbat.

    And the challot are covered before being cut and eaten, recalling the layer of dew that covered the manna each day and kept it fresh, though this is not the only explanation for the challah cover.

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