The Tur states1 that it is desirable to recite the passage concerning the manna every day.2 The Beis Yosef3 explains the rationale for this ruling: “So that one will believe that his entire sustenance comes to him through Divine providence.”

In his Shulchan Aruch, the Alter Rebbe — in the Mahadura Kama4 quotes the ruling of the Tur and the rationale of the Beis Yosef, and adds (an explanation from the Levush5 ): “[One should also read the passage concerning the manna, to fortify his faith that all his provisions are granted to him by Divine providence.] For the Holy One, blessed be He, specifically provided every man with an omer [of manna] for every member of his household; as it is written, ‘When they measured it by the omer, he who had gathered much had no excess, and he who had gathered little was lacking nothing.’”6

In his Mahadura Basra,7 however, the Alter Rebbe changes his ruling. Instead of citing the Beis Yosef (and the Levush), he states: “[It is proper to recite...] the passage concerning the manna [to spur] one’s trust in G‑d Who provides every man with his daily bread.”8

There are two differences between these passages:

a) [In the Mahadura Basra,] instead of using the wording of the Beis Yosef that speaks of faith [emunah], the Alter Rebbe speaks of trust [bitachon];

b) He does not focus on the fact that the manna was distributed (by Divine providence)9 “an omer [of manna] for every member of his household,” but that the fact that G‑d continually granted the manna, “each day, its daily portion”10 should evoke one’s trust that G‑d will grant each person his daily bread.

Seemingly, these two distinctions are dependent one on the other: The concept that “the Holy One, blessed be He, specifically provided every man with an omer [of manna] for every member of his household... ‘he who had gathered much had no excess, and he who had gathered little was lacking nothing,’” strengthens a Jew’s faith that his sustenance (does not come from “my strength and the power of my hand,”11 but instead,) from G‑d’s providence. This was manifest in [the daily descent of] the manna. For we saw that man’s activities had no effect on the quantity of manna which G‑d (ordained and) granted each person.12

Trust (bitachon), however, implies (not only that we believe that a person’s sustenance comes from G‑d, but also) that we rely on G‑d to certainly provide us with our sustenance. The concept of trust is derived from the fact that G‑d gave the manna in consistent, daily portions, in a manner where one could rely entirely upon Him, without worrying.

Explanation is, however, necessary: What is the reason that the Beis Yosef (and the Levush) — and similarly, the Mahadura Kama of the Shulchan Aruch HaRav — focus on the concept of faith, while in the Mahadura Basra, the Alter Rebbe gives a different rationale: “[to spur] one’s trust in G‑d Who provides every man with his daily bread”?


On the surface, it would appear that there must also be an actual difference in the application of halachah between these two rationales. [To reach that conclusion, the following] preface is necessary:

One of the differences between emunah, faith, and bitachon, trust, is that emunah is a constant factor in one’s life. A believer accepts the points he believes in with absolute certainty, seeing them as givens. Therefore they are constant [factors in his life].

[This applies] even when his emunah involves [not only abstract principles, but also] points that affect his actual [life],13 e.g., the point under discussion, that “his provisions are granted to him by Divine providence.” It is not appropriate to say that he believes this concept only during the time that he is involved with his livelihood. On the contrary, this emunah is a constant.

With regard to bitachon, by contrast, a person’s certainty and reliance on G‑d with regard to his livelihood is a feeling that is aroused when a person is in need.14 When a person is involved in his work to earn his livelihood, he trusts G‑d, [confident that] “G‑d your L‑rd will bless you in all that you do.”15 He trusts that G‑d will certainly bless his efforts in a manner that they will bring him sustenance.

To cite another instance: When a person finds himself in a difficult situation and does not see any natural way of being saved, he does not despair and ask:16 “Where will my assistance come from?” Instead, he is certain (because of his bitachon in G‑d,) [and trusts] that G‑d — Who is the Master of nature and can alter [the situation as He desires]17 — will certainly help him. He knows: “My assistance is from G‑d, Maker of heaven and earth.”18

Moreover, the person’s bitachon itself (serves as a medium that) draws down the deliverance from G‑d and the satisfaction of the person’s needs.

{This is one of the explanations with regard to the attribute of bitachon. On the surface, there is a point requiring explanation. Bitachon means19 that a person relies on G‑d to bring him good in an overtly revealed manner. [The intent is] not only that G‑d knows [in a manner that transcends human understanding that what he is undergoing] is for his good, but also that the person himself should be able to appreciate that it is good.

Seemingly, the fact that a person finds himself in a difficult situa­tion could be because his conduct is not appropriate and therefore he is worthy of being punished. How can it be a foundation of a person’s bitachon in G‑d20 that G‑d will certainly (not punish him, even though [the punishment] is [ultimately] for his own good, but instead will) grant him overtly revealed good? Moreover, how can his bitachon be absolute and genuine to the extent that he has no doubt and is entirely serene?21

It is possible to explain as follows: When a person displays utter bitachon in G‑d and has simple and absolute trust that G‑d will provide him with overtly revealed good — despite the fact that this is inap­propriate according to ordinary calculations and circumstances — his bitachon itself serves as a medium to draw down influence from Above. G‑d responds to him “measure for measure,” for the Torah declares and rules that this is His characteristic.22 And He grants him overtly revealed good,23 without considering at all whether he is worthy of it.24 }


From the above, it is clear that the attribute of bitachon, i.e., one’s actual arousal of bitachon, has to do with asking for one’s needs. When a person is involved with seeking his necessities, he trusts in G‑d, [confident] that G‑d will fulfill his needs.

Based on the above, since the recitation of the passage of the manna was instituted so that a person will be aroused to trust G‑d,25 it is possible to say:

a) This passage should be recited only on weekdays, but not on Shabbos26 when we do not request our needs.27 {[A parallel can be drawn to] the manna itself which did not descend on Shabbos28 although it provided man with his daily sustenance.}

b) Even during the week, [the passage concerning the manna] should not be recited in the initial portion of one’s prayers. With regard to the request for one’s needs, [our Sages teach]:29 “A person should always set forth [his] praise of the Holy One, blessed be He, and then pray (i.e., request his needs).” Indeed, we find this pattern in several siddurim.30 The passage concerning the manna is positioned after prayer (together with a prayer and a request for one’s livelihood).

Following the rationale [that the passage is recited]: “to fortify his faith...,” by contrast, it is appropriate to recite this passage on Shabbos as well and also beforeprayer (which represents “G‑d’s praise”). For31 faith in G‑d (including, also, faith with regard to one’s sustenance) must be a constant matter.

This distinction, however, requires clarification. For even in the Mahadura Basra (which states the rationale: “[to spur] one’s trust in G‑d”), the Alter Rebbe writes: “It is proper to recite every day... the passage concerning the manna.” The wording, “every day,” seemingly includes Shabbos.32

Similarly, [this distinction is not borne out] with regard to the place in prayer where the passage should be recited: The wording of the Mahadura Basra appears to indicate that the only difference (between its ruling and that of the Mahadura Kama) is with regard to the rationale for reciting [the passage], but not that [the rationale] brings about a difference [and] a limitation with regard to when the passage may be recited. This is also indicated by the fact that in the Mahadura Basra, the Alter Rebbe includes the law regarding the recitation of the passage concerning the manna with that regarding the passages concerning the Akeidah,(the Ten Commandments,)33 and the sacrifices34 (which are recited before prayer).35

The question thus remains: For what reason is a different rationale stated in the Mahadura Basra than in the Mahadura Kama (and in the Beis Yosef)?


The above question can be resolved through the explanation of the conduct of Rabbi Yeisa the Elder36 (as described in the Zohar of this week’s Torah reading37 in connection with the manna).

[Rabbi Yeisa] would not prepare his meal every day until after he had requested his sustenance from G‑d. As he would explain: “A meal should not be prepared until it has been given from the King.”

Clarification is required: Since the food (from which he prepared his meal) was already within his possession ([as that passage states:] “I am in possession of my food for this day”)38 and lacked only prepara­tion, what did he mean39 by saying that he is asking G‑d to give him that meal?

It is possible to explain the passage based on the interpretation given by Rabbeinu Bacheya40 of our Sages’ statement41 that Yosef was punished for asking Pharaoh’s steward to mention him to Pharaoh.42 [Rabbeinu Bacheya states:] “Heaven forbid that Yosef the righteous would place his trust in the steward. [Instead, his trust was focused] on G‑d alone. His intent, however, was that G‑d ordained that [he would meet] the steward so that through him a miracle could be accomplished.”

Why then was Yosef punished?

Because he saw the steward as an instrument (through which G‑d could send His deliverance).... And it is not appropriate for the righteous and the like to seek an instrument. There­fore he was punished for this. For he should have trusted in the Holy One, blessed be He, alone, for He is the Master of all instruments. [Yosef should have trusted] that He would send him an instrument without him having to seek one.

[This explanation] provokes the question:43 With regard to bitachon, it is explained (in Chovos HaLevavos44 ) that we are obligated to find instruments [through which G‑d works], (and many proofs are brought for this concept). Why then was Yosef punished for seeking “an instrument”?

It is explained45 that there are two expressions (and levels) of bitachon:

a) When Divine influence is drawn down in an ordinary manner, according to the pattern of nature46 {to use the terminology of Chassidus: [influence coming] from the level of memale kol almin (the Divine light which invests itself in the worlds)}. On this level, it is necessary to seek “an instrument” and to find mediums within nature. For this [form of] Divine influence is conveyed through the natural order.

b) When it is obvious that the Divine influence is drawn down in a manner that does not follow the natural order {to use the terminology of Chassidus: [influence coming] from the level of sovev kol almin (the Divine light that transcends the worlds)}. [Such influence] calls forth a higher level of bitachon, that “one rely entirely on G‑d’s providence alone, without doing anything. Instead, one should trust entirely that G‑d will certainly help through a medium.”47

{Yosef the righteous who, through his Divine service, was (at all times) connected with a level that transcends nature48 should have conducted himself in a manner [that reflected] the higher level of bitachon.}


The difference between these two levels of bitachon is apparent even while one seeks a medium.49 According to the first approach, the necessity for a person to employ a medium is due to the fact that the Divine influence is drawn down according to the natural order. Hence nature and its rules are significant. Therefore a person must seek a medium and an instrument through which G‑d’s blessing will be drawn down.

When, however, a person follows the second approach of bitachon, “to do nothing but to trust in G‑d,” the natural order is not at all significant for him. (Therefore it is not necessary for him to seek an instrument or medium.) Accordingly, even if he possesses a natural instrument or a medium through which he could receive his liveli­hood, his livelihood is no closer to him than it would have been had he not had that instrument or medium. For he does not attach any inde­pendent importance to that medium. His sole perception [of the situation] is that he receives everything directly from G‑d. And the instrument and the medium is also made for him by G‑d together with his livelihood.50

This is also the explanation of the conduct of Rabbi Yeisa the Elder51 who said: “A meal should not be prepared until it has been given from the King” (although he already possessed his food for that day).

Rabbi Yeisa’s approach to bitachon was that he looked at every act (individually), (not as his own deed, but rather) as a gift from G‑d.52 Accordingly, [from such a perspective,] even when one possesses the food at home and all that is necessary is for him to take it and prepare it, he does not feel that he is taking and preparing his own food, but instead, that he is (— in the present tense —) being given something by G‑d. Therefore he must request these [needs] from G‑d, (just as he would request his sustenance if he did not have food at home).


This explanation enables us to clarify another aspect in the conduct of Rabbi Yeisa the Elder. The wording of the Zohar: “[Rabbi Yeisa] would not prepare his meal every day until after he had made his request...” implies that Rabbi Yeisa conducted himself in this manner even on Shabbos.53 There is a difficulty in this case. Shabbos is not a day when we request our needs. Why then would Rabbi Yeisa pray for his [daily] sustenance from G‑d, even on Shabbos?

Based on the above, [his conduct] can be understood: The re­quests for one’s needs that are considered inappropriate on Shabbos involve situations where the person is concerned with himself: that his needs and lacks be fulfilled. The prayer of Rabbi Yeisa the Elder, [by contrast,] was aroused by the fact that his own existence was entirely insignificant. [Instead,] he felt every dimension of his existence was dependent on G‑d. The Zohar54 describes such conduct by referring to the phrase:55 “Those who long for His kindness,” interpreting it as “those who every day await and anticipate [the opportunity to] re­quest their sustenance from the Holy One, blessed be He.” The intent of their prayers is only to express how they “long for His kindness”56 ; how they feel that everything they receive is an expression of G‑d’s kindness.

Praying for one’s sustenance in this manner is acceptable even on Shabbos.


The conduct of Rabbi Yeisa the Elder is not [— in its entirety —] a matter that [can be emulated by] every person. Nevertheless, in microcosm,57 his approach is relevant to everyone,58 at the very least, at specific times.

It is possible to say that this is the difference between Shabbos and the weekdays. During the six days of the week, a person is involved with earning his livelihood.59 Thus his trust is expressed in seeking an instrument and a medium [for G‑d’s blessing]. For [during the week] we cannot ask him to lift himself entirely above the natural order and express the higher level of bitachon. Shabbos, by contrast, is not a day of work.60 And when a person is removed from work, he must express (at least on a smaller scale) the higher level of bitachon, [conducting himself as] “those who long for Your kindness.”

On this basis, it is possible to explain the difference between the wording of the Mahadura Kama and the Mahadura Basra of the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch with regard to the recitation of the passage concerning the manna. The Alter Rebbe composed the Mahadura Kama of his Shulchan Aruch according to the rulings of the Talmud and the halachic authorities.61 On an apparent level (according to the revealed dimensions of Torah Law), bitachon involves preparing a medium [for G‑d’s blessings]. [Accordingly,] were he to explain the rationale for the recitation of the passage concerning the manna as “[to spur] one’s trust in G‑d,” the recitation of this passage would be appropriate only during the week and only after prayer (as stated in sec. III).

Therefore in his Mahadura Kama,62 the Alter Rebbe states that the rationale for the recitation of the passage concerning the manna (every day) is “to fortify his faith that all his provisions are granted to him by Divine providence.”

In his Mahadura Basra, the Alter Rebbe rules according to the Kabbalists.63 Accordingly, he also includes a course of conduct that reflects higher levels of Divine service. Therefore64 he mentions the rationale: “[to spur] one’s trust in G‑d Who provides every man with his daily bread.” For according to the higher level of bitachon [displayed by] “those who long for His kindness,” it is appropriate to recite the passage concerning the manna every day — even on Shabbos (and even before prayer).

(Adapted from Sichos Shabbos Parshas Beshalach, 5723)