By Rabbi Yair Hoffman
It is perhaps the parnassah segulah that has gone most “viral” among segulos. Numerous Torah websites link to the parashah of the mon and explain that you will become wealthier if you recite this section (Sh’mos 16:4—36) on Tuesday of Parashas Beshallach. It must be said twice in the Hebrew and once in the targum. But where does this segulah come from? Is there truly anything to it? Is it of recent origin or does it date back many centuries?
What is fascinating is that the aspect of reciting it on the Tuesday of Parashas Beshallach is of recent origin. The earlier sources recommended reciting it daily–not just on one day of the year. Rabbeinu Bachya (Sh’mos 16:16) writes, “It is a tradition in the hand of the sages that whoever recites the parashah of the mon each day is assured that he will not lose out in this world of his mezonos.”
The Tashbatz (siman 184) cites the daily reading of this parashah and its effect in the name of the Yerushalmi, and add the words, “And I am the guarantor.” The Tur (O.C., siman 1:5) also cites this tradition in the name of the Yerushalmi in Berachos. The Mishnah Berurah (1:13) also cites this source. The problem is that it is not to be found in our versions or any manuscripts of the Yerushalmi.
To add to the mystery, the Sefer HaManhig in hilchos Shabbos (44) cites the source as a Yerushalmi in Yuma. Yet it is not in our Yerushalmi Yuma either.
The traditional answer often given when Rishonim refer to portions of Yerushalmi that have disappeared is that the term is used loosely by the Rishon and that Yerushalmi often included Midrashim that were edited in Eretz Yisrael. This won’t work here, because the Tur specifically refers to the Yerushalmi in Berachos. It must be that the version of the Yerushalmi that the Tur had is lost to us.
Why The Mon?
Why single out the miracle of the mon, more so than the other miracles we experienced? Rav Saadia Gaon, in the introduction to his Emunos v’Dei’os, explains that the mon was a miracle of daily occurrence. The other miracles were more transient.
Although not mentioned by Rav Saadia, the mon played an important role even after the 40-year sojourn in the desert. The container of the mon (tzintzenes ha’mon) was placed alongside the Aron in both the Mishkan and the Beis HaMikdash until the days of King Yoshiyahu, one hundred years before the destruction of the first Beis HaMikdash. It served as a reminder then too.
The Aruch HaShulchan points out that in his time, the Parashas HaMon was not found in Siddurim. He explains its absence in the Siddur as stemming from the fact that the parashah mentions a number of times the embarrassing detail that Klal Yisrael nagged and complained, and it would be improper to place that permanently in our Siddurim. Nowadays, many of the Siddurim have printed it, notwithstanding the AruchHaShulchan’s reasoning.
How It Works
Many of the meforshim explain the daily recital of the parashah of mon serves to entrench within our minds that our parnassah, our sustenance, comes only from Hashem. The Mishnah Berurah writes that it is not enough to merely say it; its message must be fully embedded within us.
Others (Minchas Asher, for example) write that reciting it will build up our bitachon in Hashem. While some would explain that these are two sides of the same coin, it seems to this author that they are in fact two distinct concepts.
There seems to be a third method, taking a less mystical approach: The reading of the parashah serves to calm a person’s anxieties about struggling for parnassah and thus helps him focus better, with the understanding that all is from Hashem. This seems to be the understanding of the Tzemach Tzedek (Parashas HaMon, 5644, referenced in index, page 100).
The Shevet Mussar (chapter 40) cites in the name of the mekubalim that it should be recited, as mentioned earlier, shenayim mikra v’echad Targum–twice in the Hebrew and once in the Aramaic of Onkelus. The Noheg Tzon Yosef (siman 34), however, quotes the shenayim mikra detail as having first been written by Rabbeinu Tam in his Sefer HaYashar. The Shelah’s father, in his Yesh Nochlin, also writes this. According to the Shelah’s father, however, this is merely the ideal method; from the Noheg Tzon Yosef it seems that it will not be effective at all if not done shenayim mikra v’echad Targum.
The Variant Blessing
Also interesting is that thus far, our sources indicate that a person will simply not lose out or suffer a loss of mezonos. In the Midrash Talpios (section on Havdallah), however, it states that the entire Parashas HaMon is mesugal for success and wealth. The nature of the blessing is thus ratcheted up a bit.
When Should It
Both the Be’er Heitev and the Mishnah Berurah indicate that it should be recited in the morning, before the Korbanos. The Otzros Chaim, however, cites the Rekanti in the name of the Zohar that it should be said after Shacharis, although he does not actually source it. The most likely reference is to the Zohar in Parashas Pinchas (226): d’parnassah lo chazi l’mishal ela basar tz’lusa–requests for one’s parnassah are viable only after praying. Since the rulings of the halachicposkim generally outweigh the rulings of the mekubalim, it would seem preferable to follow the Mishnah Berurah, but, as always, each person should consult his own rav or posek.
The Mishmeres Shalom (14:2), a sefer written in Yiddish, states that Rav Pinchas MiKoritz cited the minhag and also added that one should say the Thirteen Principles of the Rambam each morning as well.
So when exactly did the newer custom of reciting it on one particular Tuesday of the year arise? And who promulgated the new twist on the minhag? Some trace it to Rav Menachem Mendel of Riminov (1745—1815), one of the five main disciples of the Rebbe Reb Elimelech of Lizhensk. Others trace it to Rav Shalom of Stropkov (1855—1940) (see Yisroel V’Hazmanim, Rav Dovid Rossov, p. 291). It is clear, however, that Rav Shalom was quoting the Riminover and did not make it up himself. The original sefer of the Riminover is not easily accessible as only the first volume is extant.
Most people do not have the minhag of saying it on this day, and some remain firm in this minhag. Rav Ovadia also writes that this is not their minhag. There is a fascinating Rabbeinu Yonah in Shaarei Teshuvah (3:17), where he writes that it is a Torah mitzvah to remember the falling of the mon. That being the case, it doesn’t hurt to recite it if it will help us focus on this mitzvah.
Rav Shmuel Hominer in his Chumash Eved HaMelech (Sh’mos p. 42) brings out a fascinating yet obvious point. When reciting the Parashas HaMon one should take care not to recite it as segulah. Why? So that he will not be serving Hashem al menas lekabel p’ras–on condition of receiving reward. Let’s not forget this yesod of Yiddishkeit, a fundamental point in our serving Hashem, as found in Pirkei Avos. v
The author can be reached at email@example.com.