What was the מן (Manna bread) actually like? Was it aesthetically beautiful with superb taste, as described by the Torah, or was it ‘dry and rotten’ as described by the מתאוננים (complainers)?
A possible answer could be found in the Midrash that states the מן had no taste of its own, rather, tasted like whatever the person eating it, wished it to.
To the מתאוננים, the מן indeed tasted like dry and rotten bread but only because they wished it to. Why would someone choose a rotten מן over a delicious one?
The מתאוננים thought happiness and contentment are dependent on the material things they felt were lacking in their lives, when in truth, happiness isn't something that happens to you, it is something you must choose.
This idea is especially relevant in today’s consumer culture. Day and night we are bombarded with false promises of happiness. “Don’t these people look happy? It’s because they just bought this shiny new product. Buy it, and you will be happy, too!”. It seems, though, that the more people chase this form of happiness – the more it eludes them.
Some of the poorest countries on earth are known to have the lowest levels of depression and many of the wealthiest countries – the highest. This could be attributed, among other things, to the fact that in those poorer countries, people have no choice but to look internally for a source of happiness. Similarly, we are all familiar with individuals who, despite ‘having it all’, never seem happy while others, who have suffered loss, illness or financial constraints are happy and positive about life. That is because happiness is not an objective state of being. It is a state of mind.
How does one choose happiness? That is a matter for a different post but first one should acknowledge that it is completely dependent on their choice; nothing else.
Repeat with me: “Happiness isn't something that happens to me. It is something I need to choose”.