In reading the story about the manna, we see the following (all are in Shemot (Ex.) 16, so I'll just mention the verses:

verse 12 G-d says that in the evening they will eat meat and in the morning be satiated with bread.

verse 22 People collect a double portion on the 6th day; the elders wonder what's happening. It mentions that they took a double portion of man (implied by usage of the term "bread" in the verse.) Did they take a double portion of quail, too? (Not something apparent in the verse.)

verse 23 In explaining things, Moses speaks in general terms by saying cook and bake today, and leave the left-over for tomorrow. He doesn't mention specifically the word "man". So is this commandment general meaning that he implied cooking the quail as well, since there would be none of that the next day?

verse 27 some people go out to gather. The verse does not say WHAT they were looking to gather. It seems to be just mahn, but, perhaps, quail was implied, as well?

[verse 29] Moses says, don't go out on Shabbat. He also says that this is why on the 6th day G-d gave a double portion of bread.

My analysis: It looks like there was no double portion of quail given on the sixth day, as there are a few verses that mention that the double portion was of mahn, only. However, what doesn't seem clear is if on Shabbat, they had meat (quail) at all, or they had to make the 6th day's portion of quail last through Shabbat or not eat any quail at all on Shabbat. (There is no implication anywhere on how much quail they could gather each day, or that the quail would spoil by leaving it over to the next day.)

  • Also note that it seems that the quail may have been a one time occurrence as they are not mentioned again until the next set of complaints. Once the man started coming on a regular basis, then the leaving over was a special commandment. Other types of food, such as from the flocks, hunting parties, purchased from passing caravans, etc, would have been subject to the normal prohibition of cooking on Shabbat (as learned from the man). However, only the man was provided each day and not allowed to be left over. Sep 23, 2016 at 18:04
  • @sabbahillel I've inferred that quail could be left over without spoiling (in terms of the rules, not in terms of it spoiling anyway in desert heat.) But, I'm also inferring that it fell at twilight daily, since this is part of Hashem's promise when he states, near the beginning of the story, "During twilight you will eat meat." So, I don't think this was a single occurrence, at all.
    – DanF
    Sep 23, 2016 at 18:09
  • I looked up Rav Hirsch and the Art Sroll (Ramban) to put into an answer. Sep 23, 2016 at 21:48

1 Answer 1


I read it the other way. That this is a special occurrence and it is only the man that was daily. Otherwise the later complaints that were answered with quail would not have happened and the quail would not have been an appropriate answer (and rebuke as in Kivros Hata'avah)

Rav Hirsch says

The quails were thrown to them in the camp itself


the quails, which were sent to them, not as a blessing, but only to teach them that Hashem had noted their complaints.

This would imply also that it was meant to be a one time occurance to teach them a lesson. In fact, since they did not need the lesson until the next set of complaints, it seems that at least some of the lesson stuck.

ArtScroll cites Ramban that

After having said earlier that the daily portion of manna was unrelated to the demand, Hashem now responded to the people, and by referring to their request as a complaint, He let them know that their anger displayed a lack of faith in Hashem and His prophet.

As I read this as well, it means that it was a one time lesson that they were supposed to learn and amend their behavior.

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