Something to think about when preparing for Shabbos

In last week's parsha, Moshe instructs the Israelites about the mann. It was not to be kept from day to day, except for on Friday, when a double portion was to be taken because the mann did not fall on Shabbos. The mann was edible in its natural state. Nevertheless, Moshe brings up the possibility of baking and cooking it within the context of Shabbos: "Shabbathon, shabbas kodesh LaHamshem machar, es asher to'fu, efu, ve'es asher tevashlu, bashelu, ve'es kol haodef hanichu lachem lemishmeres ad haboker"  (Shmos 16: 23).  The Ramban explains that it is possible to read the text to mean that they would only bake and boil what they wanted for that day -- Friday -- and leave the rest of the double portion in its raw state for Shabbos.  But he actually prefers not to read it that way.

I would suggest that it can also be read as cooking the whole amount and leaving cooked mann for Shabbos. It is a mitzvah to honor the Shabbos by cooking and baking for special foods to be enjoyed at the festive meals we set out each during the evening and the day.  So even though they could have just eaten the mann in the state in which it fell from the skies, they would take the trouble of cooking and baking it to have the mitzvah of preparing for Shabbos.  I mentioned the fact that there is merit in preparing things oneself rather than just "buying Shabbos" -- that is leaving all the cooking ot the takeout plac.  We learn this from Tananim who would make a point of doing work personally in order to prepare for Shabbos.  They did not consider themeselves too important or too busy to do "menial" chores that were in honor of the day.  BTW, lest you think this is someonthing that only concerns women, pay attention to the grammatical construction of the verbs in the statement; they are written in the general plural -- not the feminine form.


Chaim B. said…
Perhaps the pasuk is meduyak that both bishul and afiya are included in the mitzvah, i.e. baking challah as well as cooking the food.

I would suggest as well that since, as you noted, the mann could be eaten raw, the cooking and baking in this case were not necessary to make the food edible, but were purely l'shem mitzvah, and therefore the pasuk opens with the preface, "Shabbos...l'Hashem", i.e. lishma, l'shem mitzvah.

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