At the end of Parahas Ki Tavo we read that for 40 years the Israelites did not have bread or wine. The seventh aliya says (Devarim 29:5), "You neither ate bread, nor drank new wine or old wine, in order that you ..." How did they worship? What did they do for Friday night kiddush? More importantly, how did they bring the various korbanos (sacrifices) that require meal and wine?

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    Wasn't the mahn considered "bread"? Even the Torah calls it bread! And, of course, if you don't have wine, you can make Kiddush on bread! I agree that this does question what does Ki Tavo mean when it says "You ate no bread". As for wine - says whom? Didn't they bring grapes from Eretz Yisra'el? In view of my questions, maybe you want to rephrase your question as to what the verse in Ki Tavo really means. You may be inferring something from the verse that isn't actually fact.
    – DanF
    Aug 30, 2018 at 17:41
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    Korbanot required meal in the desert? Doesn't the verse say כי תבואו אל ארץ
    – Double AA
    Aug 30, 2018 at 17:47
  • @DanF It is true that the Israelites were in some locations for many years. I do not know how long it takes to plant a vineyard and harvest grapes. In any case, the 7th aliya of the parsha says no wine was consumed.
    – Yehuda W
    Aug 30, 2018 at 19:10
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    @YehudaW Those halachos are discussed toward the end of Shelach, starting at 15:1, if you want to look them up. DoubleAA’s passuk is v. 2. HOWEVER, Zevachim 111a and 118a records a dispute regarding whether libations may be brought on private alters, and according to Rav Pappa, that machlokes hangs on a different one regarding whether they brought libations in the desert - R’ Akiva on 111a, among others, would say that they were brought, according to this approach. So while most opinions support Double’s reading, yours is not an invalid approach.
    – DonielF
    Aug 30, 2018 at 19:30
  • I vote to close b/c of an ambiguity of focus as suggested in my previous comment. Is your focus on the meaning of the Ki Tavo verse or what happened in terms of Kiddush and offerings? If the latter, I recommend that you delete the reference to Ki Tavo.
    – DanF
    Aug 30, 2018 at 20:45

1 Answer 1


While I haven’t seen anyone who addresses this question specifically, perhaps we can glean an answer from the Ramban on this passuk (29:5):

לחם לא אכלתם ויין ושכר לא שתיתם. הטעם לא אכלתם ממנו שתוכלו לחיות ממנו כי עיקר מחיתם במן היתה למען תדעו כי אני ה' אלהיכם המחיה אתכם במעשה הנס ואין טעמו שלא אכלו לחם כלל כמו לחם לא אכלתי ומים לא שתיתי (לעיל ט ט) כי בקצת העתים היה לישראל במדבר לחם כמו שכתוב (שם ב כח כט) אכל בכסף תשבירני ואכלתי ומים בכסף תתן לי ושתיתי כאשר עשו לי בני עשו היושבים בשעיר והמואבים היושבים בער ורבותינו הזכירו (יומא עה) דברים שתגרי אומות העולם מביאים להם במדבר ואפשר עוד כי מעת שירד המן עד בואם אל שעיר לא אכלו לחם כלל כי הלכו במדבר הגדול והנורא אבל בשנת הארבעים קרבו לישוב ונאמר להם (לעיל ב ד ו) ואת העם צו לאמר אתם עוברים בגבול אחיכם בני עשו אכל תשברו מאתם ושם (פסוק ז) כתוב זה ארבעים שנה ה' אלהיך עמך לא חסרת דבר ומן העת ההיא היו האדומים והמואבים מקדימים אותם בלחם ובמים והיו גדולי ישראל קונים מהם ואוכלים לתענוג לא לצורך ולא לשבעה ועיקר המחיה שלהם במן

The Ramban’s main point is that the passuk doesn’t mean that they literally never ate bread nor drank wine in the desert, similar to Moshe Rabbeinu on Har Sinai, as we find that they offered to pay for food from Edom, Moav, and Amon. Likewise, the Gemara relates that the nations gave gifts of food to the Jews.

The Ramban gives a second answer to reconcile these two discussions that the Jews ate the mann for most of the forty years, until they approached Edom’s borders in the fortieth year. It was at that point that the nations began donating gifts and the Jews offered to pay for food.

According to the Ramban’s first answer, perhaps we can answer your question as well: of course they had plenty of flour for Menachos and wine for Nesachim, since they ate bread and wine normally anyway. According to his second answer, the question remains unresolved regarding the first 39+ years.

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