"And the Lord said to Moses, 'I will rain down bread for you from
the sky ...'" (Exodus 16:4)
Already at the very outset of their desert wanderings, the Children of Israel complained to Moses that they were hungry and recalled with longing the days of plenty in Egypt, when food abounded. The biblical text relates God's speedy response: the raining down of bread - that is, manna.
For forty years, the Israelites were abundantly nourished by this manna, which ceased to fall as soon as they entered the Promised Land. The appearance of the manna every day of the week - apart from the Sabbath - and its immediate cessation at the end of the journey underscore the miraculous nature of this divine bread. As a permanent reminder of the miracle, Aaron the High Priest was commanded to place an omer of manna (the same amount each person gathered every day) in a jar in the Ark of Testimony in the Tabernacle.