The underlying motif of being sustained by the daily portion of manna that descended from Heaven is faith and trust in the Almighty. I think, in the end, everyone believes in Hashem and even places his trust in Him. The question is when. Do we wait until every last option for salvation has been exhausted before we finally accede to the verity that everything comes from Hashem? The daily gift of manna – survival from Heaven – was a lesson in faith. Hashem provides for those who believe in Him. A person of little faith worries about what tomorrow will bring: will he have enough to eat; will he be able to pay the bills; will he even have a tomorrow? Horav S. R. Hirsch, zl, observes that by limiting the Heavenly-sent gift of manna to a single daily portion, Hashem taught the nation that, at all times, He is our sole Provider. Furthermore, by providing a double portion of manna on Friday, Hashem teaches that Shabbos observance does not impede one’s livelihood. Hashem will provide for one’s Shabbos needs, just as He does for his weekday necessities.
While some Jews come to faith cognitively, through intelligent questions and answers, the primary and most enduring method is to be raised with it – to see it in one’s parent’s modeling and to live it at home. The primary teacher of emunah in Hashem is the mother, who imparts to her children an emotional rendering of her faith in Hashem. Such faith becomes infused in the child’s psyche and remains with him/her for a lifetime.
The Kaliver Rebbe, zl, related the following story which occurred in the Breslau Camp in Germany. Being identified as a Jew was virtually a death sentence. Every day Jews were shot on sight. Since many gentiles were interred in the camp, Jewish slave laborers would disguise themselves as gentiles just to live another day. Otherwise, just taking a walk was risking one’s life.
Despite the danger, a little, bedraggled boy – apparently very frightened and unsure of himself and where he was – walked around murmuring something to himself all of the time. He became part of the camp’s sorry landscape: a young child walking around murmuring to himself. No one knew what he was saying. It appeared as if he were talking to himself, for all intents and purposes, a frightened little boy who probably, due to all the suffering, had lost his mind.
The boy passed the Rebbe, and suddenly he burst into tears. He cried hysterically. The Rebbe ran over, put his arms around him, and began to talk to him. He asked him his name and his origin, and soon the boy calmed down, because, despite outward appearances, the boy was now aware that he was speaking with a brother – another Jew, “My name is Yitzchak Vinig from the Warsaw Ghetto. My entire family is gone. I am alone in the world. I recently arrived in this camp, unaccompanied, unknown, alone without anyone.”
His was one of thousands of sad stories. Some survived the war to rebuild their lives, making sure that, although the beginning was mournful, the conclusion of their life stories had a happy ending. The Rebbe asked the boy why he walked around the camp muttering to himself. His reply shook the Rebbe to the very core of his being. He explained that in the Warsaw ghetto, the murderers had separated him from his mother, as he was sent to join a group of children. He was literally dragged away by the Nazis. His mother ran after him and, with bitter tears, cried out, “Yitzchak, my precious child, look at me! Because of the troubling times, we were unable to teach you Torah. But remember this always, wherever you go, when it gets bad for you, when you are frightened, say, ‘Shema Yisrael, Hashem Elokeinu, Hashem Echad!’ Hashem will save you from harm.”
Yitzchak concluded his explanation, “Now you understand what I was doing. I was scared, so I was reciting Shema Yisrael all of the time – just as my mother told me to do.”
I think anything added to the above would be superfluous.