Ancient interpreters contemplated the substance of manna, a food that traverses the chasm between divine and mundane realms, falling from heaven to be consumed on earth. In kabbalistic thought, the Zohar presents manna as granting the desert generation an embodied experience of knowledge of God; such an opportunity is available to mystics in everyday eating and through birkat ha-mazon (Grace after Meals).
Traditional commentators endued certain Torah references with midrashic or esoteric purport in an effort to counteract those who mocked them. But in so doing, they were conceding the mockers’ evaluation of these texts as being, prima facie, inconsequential. Fortunately, source criticism helps us accept these texts without discomfort, obviating the compulsion to interpret them away.
Isaac S. D. Sassoon