In this week’s parsha, Beha’alotecha, B’nei Yisrael (the Israelites) are on the move through the desert on their way to the Land of Israel. They waste no time and start complaining about the new hot thing to whine about: the manna. Manna is served all day, every day and can taste like anything you want. Well, anything except cucumbers, watermelons, leeks, onions and garlic. So what’s to grumble about? Well, that short list, plus meat, is exactly what the people are yearning for.
One reason given for why God’s manna can taste like anything but those foods is that they produce an unpleasant taste for the babies of nursing mothers. B’nei Yisrael are immature, wanting their new food in the desert to resemble what they ate in Egypt, even though that was the place they were enslaved. In a way, they were children in Egypt and now, through the journey with Moses and getting the commandments, they must become adults.
In a similar fashion, as college students, we must take this journey through our own University of Midbar (wilderness) to become adults and embrace the manna we are given. While your mom’s challah or _insert family member’s best dish here_ may be the best, we cannot long for it forever. Now is the time to mature and grow out of our childhood ways to adopt and create new, adult(ish) ones.
Jeremy Duchin is a member of the American University class of 2017.