Shir Ha-Ma'alot #6

First Blessing of the Birkat Ha-Mazon
"He who nourishes all"

"Moshe established for Israel the blessing of 'Ha-Zan - He who nourishes all' at the time when manna fell for them" (Berachot 48b). After eating bread from the heavens, they recited the blessing of "He who nourishes all." And what did they bless before eating? Our Rabbis, the Achronim (later authorities), are in doubt whether the blessing was: "Blessed are You…who brought forth bread from the ground" or "…who brought forth bread from the heavens." It is true that our bread comes from the earth, and nevertheless it comes from Hashem, through our labor. In the desert, we were on the level of a young child who receives all he needs without effort, but when we arrived to the Land of Israel, we were required to labor in order for food to grow from the ground, and Hashem also provided us with this food. In a similar way, we received the Torah from heaven in the desert, but we were required to toil with difficulty in the Oral Torah in the Land of Israel (see Temurah 16), and the Oral Torah is also from Heaven. And so too, the verse (Shemot 14:14), "Hashem will do battle for you, and you shall remain silent" was fulfilled for us in the desert, but we waged difficult wars in the Land of Israel, and Hashem also went before us in all of these wars. One should accustom himself to see the hand of Hashem which works in everything. One should accustom himself to see the daily miracles in nature: "For Your miracles that are with us every day; and for Your wonders and favors in every season - evening, morning and afternoon. The Beneficent One, for Your compassion was never exhausted, and the Compassionate One, for Your kindness never ended - always have we put our hope in You" (the prayer "Modim"). Not only does Hashem nourish His Nation Israel with His great compassion, He also nourishes every person and every creature.
One researcher said that there is not enough food for all of the inhabitants of the world, since people are multiplying exponentially, while the resources of food are only expanding incrementally (Malthus). The Theory of Natural Selection therefore claims that only the strong survive. But we, the disciples of Moshe Rabbenu, recite in this blessing: "He is G-d who nourishes and sustains all, and benefits all, and He prepares food for all of His creatures which He has created." We damage His world because of jealously between nations. With the help of G-d, people will continue to discover new resources of food, with the aid of scientific understanding, which is also a gift of G-d.