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The Malbim Makes reference from other Meforshim to a Karite, who says that Maan is a Natural phenomenon. Does this phenomenon still exist? Does anyone know what it is called in English? any articles would be appreciated?

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You're just assuming the Karaite is correct?! – Dave Jan 10 '11 at 14:34
Dave why would I think he would make up a concept like that – SimchasTorah Jan 10 '11 at 23:25
So if he said it, that means he knew what the Monn was, and that it is a naturally occurring substance? More likely he was making an educated guess, and you are just trying to figure out what was the subject of his imagination. – Dave Jan 10 '11 at 23:42
up vote 7 down vote accepted

I don't know about Karaites, but see this post at RationalistJudaism that this was the position of Rambam, as well as that of some Yemenite midrashim:


"Rambam seems to have shared the view found in certain Yemenite Midrashic texts (and see too Ibn Ezra to Shemos 16:13), that manna is essentially a naturally-occurring substance. It was miraculous in it occurring with unnatural properties (according to the Epistle Against Galen) and with constantly fortuitous timing (according to the Guide). (See the extract from Rabbi Nataniel ben Yeshayah, Nûr al-Zalâm, written in 1329, published in Y. Tzvi Langermann, Yemenite Midrash: Philosophical Commentaries on the Torah, pp. 216-217.)"

He also links there to a NY Times article about a similar naturally occurring phenomenon: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/09/dining/09manna.html?_r=1&ref=dining

Also, to Ibn Ezra who rejects someone (possibly a Karaite) who suggests that it is natural: http://www.daat.ac.il/daat/olam_hatanah/mefaresh.asp?book=2&perek=16&mefaresh=ezra ירקב שם חוי שאמר: כי המן הוא הנקרא בלשון פרסי תרנגבי"ן ובלשון ערבי מ"ן ובלשון לע"ז מנ"א. כי קושיות רבות עמדו עליו. האחת כי איננו יורד היום במדבר סיני כי ההר ידוע ואני ראיתי זה הדומה למן במלכות אלצכי"ר. והוא יורד בניסן ובאייר ולא בחדשים אחרים. ועוד: אם תשימהו לשמש לא ימס. ועוד: כי בלילה לא יבאש. ועוד: כי איננו חזק ואין צורך שידוכנו אדם במדוכה, שיעשה ממנו עוגות. ועוד: כאשר יושם בלשון יומס. ועוד: כי איננו משביע שיוליד דם טוב, רק הוא נכנס ברפואות. ועוד: כי ביום השישי היה יורד משנה. ועוד: כי לא היה יורד בשבת. ועוד: כי ירד לכל מקום שיחנו. ועוד: כי עבר עימהם את הירדן, ולא שבת עד חצי ניסן על דרך הפשט.

Note that Ibn Ezra says ירקב שם חוי, may the name of Chivi rot. This would appear to be a reference to Chivi al Balchi. See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiwi_al-Balkhi

where scholars think he was either a Jew or a Gnostic Christian.

If some Karaite said it, I assume Ibn Ezra would have known who said it and been able to name him. Rather he gives this Chivi character as saying it, as well as those who follow after him. (See here: http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=39939&st=&pgnum=255 in this longer version of Ibn Ezra, where he refers to Chivi haPoshe vechol hazonin acharav). Perhaps Malbim was aware that this was actually a Karaite, or else falsely inferred that the fellow was a Karaite because Ibn Ezra opposed him, and Ibn Ezra often opposed Karaites.

I've looked at a Karaite peirush myself (namely, Aharon ben Yosef) and don't see any mention or endorsement of this idea.

By the way, here is the Malbim on the Torah. http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=40081&st=&pgnum=236 Can you locate the page where he makes this comment?

kol tuv,


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I was told that the Ibn Ezra and the Abarbnel reject this theory – SimchasTorah Jan 10 '11 at 23:30
Its Page 250 Josh – SimchasTorah Jan 11 '11 at 0:39
Maybe a direct English translation? maybe comment on the other Beshalach related questions – SimchasTorah Jan 11 '11 at 0:40
Thanks for answering and also making this into a blog post. parsha.blogspot.com/2011/01/… – Isaac Moses Jan 11 '11 at 2:09
yes, ibn ezra takes pains to reject it, in the quote above. you are right that Abarbanel rejects it too, and indeed refers to it as a Karaitic position. See here: hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=14386&st=&pgnum=136 But this is via Ibn Ezra, so he doesn't know the fellow is a Karaite. And the Malbim, here: hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=40081&st=&pgnum=250 brings down both Ibn Ezra and Abarbanel and follows Abarbanel in labeling this the words of a Karaite. Thanks! Josh – josh waxman Jan 11 '11 at 14:45

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