God Gave Them Manna
In this week’s portion, we learn the Israelites are complaining about a lack of good food in the desert. So, God gives them manna- the ability to have any kind of food they desire. The ‘restaurant’ they were given access to had an unlimited menu. The food served there was ‘aware” of consciousness. It became whatever they wanted it to be. If they wanted it to be the juiciest steak on the planet, it’ll be just that. If they wanted popcorn with caramel or an authentic Italian gelato, their food would become just that.
Can you imagine a restaurant that serves conscious food, food that knows what you want and becomes exactly that? It makes it impossible to complain because any food you feel like eating, you shall receive.
Did That Stop The Complaining?
The short answer is no, it didn’t. They complained about the conscious food and kept asking about meat. Of course, God responded to their demands with a massive flock of quails. Even so, they continued to complain, even while they were eating.
What’s the moral here? People who choose to complain will continue to do so, no matter what they’re given. The Israelites said the food was too perfect for their taste. They said they’d rather have the not-so-perfect food. People also reached the point of complaining about not being able to complain. Complaining is an addiction, and it’s hard to stop.
What Lesson Can We Take From This Story?
Are we trying to be happy, fulfilled and satisfied, or are we trying to complain? To complain is human. However, complaining just for the sake of complaining is absolutely harmful. If the intention behind our complaint is to improve something, then all power to you! If we’re complaining in order to build a better universe together, fight disease, end war, and stop shootings, then that’s constructive. If we’re going to complain about the poison in our food, the plastic in our ocean and the climate crisis, then, by all means, power to us! Complaining about these things opens the door for healthy arguments and debates that lead to a better, safer, and more sustainable world for all of us. On the ther hand, if we’re complaining just for the sake of it, then our complaints will keep us from elevating ourselves.
The Backwards “Nun”
Behaalotcha is the only portion in the Torah where you’re to find a letter that is written backwards. It is the letter “Nun”, which in Hebrew means the concept of falling. As Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai says in the Zohar, the “Nun” is a representation of falling- and, unsurprisingly, it appears right after the Israelites start complaining. The point we need to take away from this is that by complaining, we are jeopardizing our health, our businesses, our emotional wellbeing, and our lives. Things fall apart when we complain a lot. However, if our complaints are for our benefit as a community, we will not suffer. There’s an inverted “Nun” at the beginning of the verse, and another one at the end. The verse between the two “Nuns” talks about rising so that our enemies would go away. This verse is the one we should connect to when we are failing in any aspect of our lives.
We believe this week’s portion is the most powerful portion in the Torah. If you look at the verse after that, you’ll notice that the Israelites stopped complaining.
The Message To Take Home Today
The lesson to take home today is this: If you want to achieve Behaalotcha, if you want to elevate yourself, make sure you’re lifting up your soul: Don’t complain, don’t become a victim, don’t surround yourself with people who complain and want to be victims. If you’re going to elevate yourself, make sure you surround yourself with people who want to have healthy debates to make the universe a better place for everyone