In this week’s Torah portion Hashem officially turned the Jewish People into a Nation. By giving us the Torah, He made us a Nation of royalty and priesthood, the princes and princesses of the Master of the World, King of all Kings, the Almighty One, blessed be He. By giving us the Torah, the guide book for all mankind, he informed us of the obligatory, but beneficial, way to live our lives.
The Chizkuni (Shemos 20:2)
relates: “that Hashem revealed Himself to the Jewish people like an iconic statue which has a face on every side and a thousand people gazing at it and it gazing at them. So to, G-D when he spoke, each individual Jew said ‘He spoke to me.’ [In the first of the Ten Commandments it does not say ‘I am the Lord your G-D’ in plural rather it was in singular form. Why? Because [G-D] spoke to each individual in the order they were standing around the mountain as it writes (19:12) ‘And you set boundaries for the people around [the mountain.] And don’t be amazed, for the manna was given to each individual fitting with their own individual taste buds. Just as the manna was given in this manner, certainly the word of Hashem we could assume was delivered in the same manner.” (Click here
for Hebrew text.)
Why did the Chizkuni have to bring a comparison to manna to impress upon us that Hashem spoke to each person individually at the giving of the Torah? It is obvious; we know Hashem has the ability to do that because he is the almighty, all powerful, infinite G-D who can do anything! This comparison would not turn a non-believer into a believer anyway, because once there is a question as to whether He spoke to each individual, who is to say that he provided each individual with their own dietary needs or gave each individual the taste they wanted?
We must therefore say that the Chizkuni was not talking to non-believers; rather, we have an obligation to achieve the greatest level of clarity in our belief of Hashem. And therefore another example, or anything at all, that helps us understand, or gain a greater appreciation for, our belief in Hashem and his Torah – makes an indelible impact. There are infinite levels of clarity that one can achieve in understanding of G-D’s existence and of how He runs the world.
But why the parable of manna? One might think that even though Hashem has the ability to talk to every individual, why would the King of Kings, Master of the Universe, lower Himself down to talking to each individual? It is undignified! Even if the giving of the Torah was the most important event in the history of the world, and Hashem wanted to ensure that each individual accepted it, it is still a lack of honor to the king; so maybe people would make up the excuse that not every Jewish individual heard and accepted the Torah from Hashem.
To this excuse the Chizkuni says that if Hashem cared for the taste buds of every individual Jew in the desert, and therefore made the manna tasty according to every Jews’ desire, then certainly he would speak to every Jew individually to impress upon each individual Jew the gift of the Torah, the guide book for all mankind, which He wished to give to them at that time.
This picture of G-D’s love and care for every individual Jewish person has the potential to be awe-inspiring for anyone, if only they choose to focus on it and imbibe it into their psyche.