PARSHAT BESHALACH: “No Need To Complain”
For the eternal merit to the soul of my grandfather Yitzchak Aziz Ben Mashallah Hacohen A”H
“And the entire assembly of Bnei Yisrael complained against Moshe and Aaron in the wilderness.”Shemot 16:2
Rav Moshe Feinstein explains that the very fact that the Jews registered a complaint about whether they would have provisions in the desert was a sign of weakness in their trust in Hashem. This failure to exhibit faith in Hashem was a dismal disappointment, for the nation should have certainly realized that Hashem had taken them out of Egypt with great fanfare and pomp, proudly demonstrating that all rules of nature were subject to being bent to meet their needs. Clearly, Hashem had not taken them out simply to have them die of starvation. The verses in Tehillim (78:17-20) describe this complaint as being a dark moment in the history of our people: “But they repeated to sin yet more against Him, rebelling against the Most High in the desert. And they tempted God in their heart by asking food for their desire. And they spoke against God; they said: ‘Will God be able to set in order a table in the wilderness?’ Behold, He smote the rock so that waters gushed out, and streams overflowed. Shall He also be able to give bread? Or can He provide flesh for His people?”
Although they were confronted with a challenging situation, the people should have known that nothing bad was going to happen to them. If they had unquestionably relied upon Hashem, their needs would have been met by means of an even greater miracle, and they would not have needed to gather the manna portions to subsist. They would have been able to survive without the need for bread at all. However, once they complained, they lost this merit, and they only merited to survive by means of the heavenly bread. Although this was also a fantastic miracle in and of itself, nevertheless, the miracle of surviving without eating at all would have been an even greater form of existence.
The proof of this is how the clothing of the people was managed for forty years. The Jews did not complain about how they were to be clothed while in the desert, and they, therefore, merited to be the beneficiaries of a tremendous miracle, and their clothing did not become worn out at all. It remained fresh and new although they wore the same garments every day, as we find (Devarim 8:4), “Your garments did not wear out upon you.” There, Rashi explains that the Clouds of Glory would rub against their clothes and launder and press their clothes, leaving them clean and fresh. As young children would grow, their clothes would grow with them.
We see that both in the case of the manna and in the case of the clothing the people merited miraculous conditions to meet their needs. Where the people complained, the miracle was somewhat diminished, and they had to collect the manna and eat it. Where they did not complain, they merited an even greater miracle and the clothing needed no maintenance at all.