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Moshe said to Aaron, “Take one jar and put a full omer of manna into it; place it before Hashem for safekeeping for your generations.” (Shemos 16:33)
Rashi comments that the purpose of preserving a portion of maana was so that the Jewish people would derive inspiration from it throughout all generations. Indeed Yirmiyahu displayed it to the people of his era and demanded that they devote themselves to the study of Torah and the performance of mitzvos at the expense of pursuing a secure livelihood. He explained that just as Hashem provided the maana for their ancestors in the desert, likewise he would provide them with sustenance.
It is noteworthy that the posuk appears to use an extra word. The posuk says that Moshe told Aaron to take a jar and put a “full” omer measure of manna into it. It would seem that the posuk could have been written without the word “full.” The posuk could simply state “put an omer measure of manna into it.” The commentators answer that the posuk is alluding to the additional requirement, that the jar be exactly one omer in volume. The jar was thus “full” with the omer measure of manna. The jar was now vacuum-sealed due to lack of space. Perhaps this method was employed to preserve the maana for all generations.
Perhaps we may suggest a homiletic interpretation. We are aware that the maana was a purely spiritual food. Its physical texture and composition was nothing like we know today. Hashem instructed that an omer measure of maana be placed in an earthenware jar. The Torah does not tell us the exact volume of the jar. It could very well be that the volume of the jar was larger than the omer measure of maana. However the extra word “full” in the posuk may be interpreted homiletically to indicate that this omer measure would miraculously fill up the entire jar.
Hashem commanded that this jar be preserved for all generations. In addition to the simple explanation given above we may now suggest that it taught something else. People in future generations would observe that the large earthenware jar was completely filled with a relatively small omer measure of manna. The relationship between the earthenware jar and the manna is symbolic of the relationship of the human being created from earth to the Torah. Every human being serves as a receptacle to spirituality. Just as the manna expanded to fill the entire jar likewise a person may derive that the larger receptacle of spirituality he makes himself through faith and spiritual refinement the more Hashem will expand his capacity to receive spirituality.
© Efraim Levine 5760/2000 - 5763/2003