The Source of It All

Yael Eckstein  |  August 4, 2020

Braided challah bread

He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. — Deuteronomy 8:3

Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is Eikev, which means “therefore” or “heel,” from Deuteronomy 7:12–11:25.

Soon after each of my children learned to talk, my husband and I began teaching them Jewish prayers and blessings. Like Christians, we teach our kids to thank God for our food before we eat. However, in the Jewish tradition, we have specific blessings for each particular food group. There are distinct blessings for vegetables, fruit, bread, and more.

One of my children asked a very good question when I taught her the blessing that we say before we eat bread. The blessing recognizes God as, “He who brings forth bread from the land.” But, as my daughter pointed out, bread doesn’t grow from the ground like vegetables, or grow on trees like fruit. Why do we thank God for bread? Don’t people make bread?

In this week’s Torah portion, we read that God fed the people manna in the desert “to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” When the Israelites ate the miraculous manna, it was easy to appreciate the food as coming directly from God. It literally fell from heaven and had supernatural qualities.

However, when it comes to bread, God’s role is not as obvious. The manna was intended to teach all generations that while it may appear at times as though we are sustained by our own hard work or a stroke of good luck, the source of our sustenance is always God. His will and His benevolence are what sustain us.

This is why we acknowledge God for bringing bread from the ground. It is God who gave man the ability to take wheat from the ground and turn it into bread. Ultimately, God is still the source of the food.

I want to encourage us all to give praise and thanks to God today for all that we have, all that we can do, and all of the amazing achievements that God has allowed us to accomplish. Let’s recognize God as the source of it all and give glory to His great name.

Your turn:

How has God enabled you to achieve your greatest accomplishments? Share with us in the comments below!