My kid asked:

If the man could be whatever food one wanted, could one eat milk-man after meat-man?

(And the same can be asked, but stronger, about cooking or eating the two types together.) I replied that I think it could taste like, but not be, whatever one wanted, so that I doubted it would be a problem. However, I see that Avrohom Yitzchok cites Rav Asher Weiss as implying that some hold that the man could actually change into whatever food one wanted, sufficiently to, perhaps, require that food's b'racha rishona. In that case, my kid's question stands.

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    I think it should be noted that this midrash directly contradicts the text of the chumash. Too often people do not realize that.
    – avi
    Commented Feb 5, 2012 at 21:55
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    @avi, does it? The written Torah itself does describe the man with two different tastes in different places - "like wafers in honey" (Ex. 16:31); "like an oil-soaked cake" (Num. 11:8). (The apparent contradiction between the midrash about it having all possible tastes, and Num. 11:5, where the people complain that they miss "the cucumbers, the leeks..." - is noted in the Gemara, Yoma 75a, and understood as meaning that these foods were indeed an exception, either in that the man couldn't assume those tastes at all or that it would have the taste but not the texture.)
    – Alex
    Commented Feb 5, 2012 at 23:21
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    @Alex Wafers in honey and oil soaked cake are both crunchy sweet desserts. Claiming the man could taste like fettuccini alfredo or fish and chips is indeed a large addition that the midrash adds without explicit evidence in the text.
    – Double AA
    Commented Feb 5, 2012 at 23:36
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    To take the question a step further, what if someone ate real meat or milk, and then had the Manna taste like the opposite thing?
    – Menachem
    Commented Feb 6, 2012 at 1:56
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    The community will no doubt appreciate the (unintended?) pun in "My kid asked", kids having a special connection to meat and milk. Commented Feb 6, 2012 at 9:21

1 Answer 1


The Talmud (Yoma 75a) quotes two opinions: either the man could taste like everything except 5 flavors but never changed its texture, or the man could change its texture to anything but 5 things but it could still taste like those 5 without changing texture. The 5 things are those mentioned in the pasuk in Bamidbar 11:5: Kishuim Avatichim Chatzir Betzalim and Shumim (I don't know if these are actually their modern Hebrew equivalents, but if they are then they are all vegetables).

Your question is only according to the latter opinion.

I think the man could not become meat for two reasons. First, if the man could turn into meat, why did the Jews complain about not having meat? We see they did complain about the lack of these five things. Additionally, they complain in the pasuk above about a sixth thing, fish, yet the talmud does not record fish among the exceptions to tastes. Thus it seems that it could not taste like fish, but that was no cause to be an exception, implying a more general and known excluded category, likely meat.

So there was no way to have meat and milk man.

Furthermore, even if there would be, I submit that it would be muttar. The mishna in Chullin explicitly excludes fowl (and according to some non-normative opinions even undomesticated animals) from the prohibition of meat and milk as they are not similar to the 'gedi' (goat) mentioned as the prototype in the pasuk. It seems to me that all opinions would agree to exclude man as it is at best a 'plant'.

Finally I would like to echo avi's sentiment in the comments above, that the pasuk tells us explicitly in Bamidbar 11:8 that the man tasted like "cake baked with oil". Yum!

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    +1 for first third. -1 for last third = 0 Commented Feb 5, 2012 at 23:58
  • @ShmuelBrill And the middle third?
    – Double AA
    Commented Feb 6, 2012 at 0:01
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    You win :) ..... Commented Feb 6, 2012 at 0:04
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    @ShmuelBrill If you don't mind my asking, why did you find it -1-worthy that I considered the idea that the midrash is not supposed to be taken literally? Maybe it is trying to teach you how good the man was poetically, without actually accounting for every possible halachic consequence.
    – Double AA
    Commented Feb 6, 2012 at 0:11

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