August 27, 2005

Man does not live on bread alone

This Shabat's Tora portion, `Eqev (עקב), which begins at Deuteronomy 7:12, contains a famous line which I have, evidently, never paid attention to, since I just realized today that I've never properly understood it. Here it is in context:

וַיְעַנְּךָ וַיַּרְעִבֶךָ וַיַּאֲכִלְךָ אֶת הַמָּן
אֲשֶׁר לֹא יָדַעְתָּ וְלֹא יָדְעוּן אֲבֹתֶיךָ
לְמַעַן הוֹדִיעֲךָ כִּי לֹא עַל הַלֶּחֶם לְבַדּוֹ יִחְיֶה הָאָדָם
כִּי עַל כָּל מוֹצָא פִי ה' יִחְיֶה הָאָדָם

Vay`ankha vayar`ivekha vaya'akhilkha et haman
Asher lo' yada`ta v'lo' yad`un avoteykha
L'ma`an hodi`ahka ki lo' `al halehem l'vado yihye ha'adam
Ki `al kol mosa' pi H' yihye ha'adam

And He made you suffer, and He made you hungry, and He fed you the manna
That you didn't know, and that your forefathers didn't know
In order to make you know that Man does not live on bread alone
That on all that came out of the mouth of the Lord does Man live

Deuteronomy 8:3

In other words, it does not mean that Man lives on bread, and something else too (though that, of course, is also true). It means that bread is not the ultimate source of Man's life. God created everything (through speech, hence "out of the mouth of the Lord") and it is He who is its ultimate source.

This is my answer to anyone (theist or atheist) who thinks that evolution, or science, or any earthly notion of causality is a challenge to belief in God. God is not a scientific hypothesis because it is not falsifiable! (Though I have pointed out before that the current state of science has a loophole just big enough to fit God's will on a day-to-day basis.) Which is not to say that it doesn't matter: to most human beings, and to any non-earthly beings who might be able to perceive the true whole, it matters a whole lot.

Posted by David Boxenhorn at August 27, 2005 10:40 PM | TrackBacks
Comments & Trackbacks

Great post, glad you are blogging again. I linked to you here:

http://www.cornbread.com/~alice/teatray/?p=19

(new blog, I moved.)

Posted by: Alice Bachini at August 31, 2005 08:12 PM Permalink

Thanks, Alice. Glad to see you back too. (I'm still in slow mode, though...)

Posted by: David Boxenhorn at August 31, 2005 09:09 PM Permalink

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