He explains how complaining ruins life for everyone around the complainer.
Dissatisfaction is contagious.
And out of all the challenges Moshe Rabbeinu faced, he found most bitter the challenge of the people complaining about the mann.
This really was an amazing miracle that gets lost on us today with all our modern food production.
But once upon a time, even the most basic foods demand intense physical labor.
Bread needed to be harvested from wheat, then ground into flour, protected from mice who gnawed through sacks, sifted, and only then a person could start with the recipe.
Yeast wasn't so predictable either. A housewife merely saved some dough from a previous baking.
Boiling a potato meant digging it up out of the ground. Tomatoes needed to be picked. So did beans.
If you didn't make enough vegetable & fruit preserves and smoke enough meat over the summer, then you ended up very hungry in the winter.
So the mann was an amazing & unbelievably convenient thing.
But the mann was the same every day. Also, Rav Miller notes that it was clear (even though it's often described as white), which he derives from the textual description of mann looking like crystal.
Now, you could imagine it any taste you'd like. You could also grind it up or fry it, in addition to eating it as is. (Mann straight from the sky tasted like a sweet wafer.)
The way Rav Miller describes it when cut up & fried, it sounds like tastes like the wonderful Yemenite mallowach.
Personally, I can't imagine getting tired of mallowach and wanting eggplant or spinach instead, but nonetheless, I still understand the main point of the parsha: gratitude for what you have—even when it's not exciting!
First Things First
According to Rav Miller, these were some of the world's first motivational speakers.
And Hashem did this BEFORE sending the people quail to roast in answer to their complaints.
First, Hashem addressed their mental attitude.
In addition to their attitude about the mann, the Midbar (Desert) lacked entertainment & diversions.
The ancient world, especially an advanced society like Egypt, featured all sorts of entertainment & diversions. Interesting architecture, attractive music...the ancient world also hosted all the vices found in our generation, albeit just a different form.
So Am Yisrael also struggled with that.
From pages 13-16, Rav Miller details in his characteristically witty & appealing way how & what to feel gratitude for. (I never knew that staircase banisters were a new thing, for example.)
And not being the Typhoid Mary of gloom.
That's what life is all about.
Credit for all material & quotes go to Toras Avigdor.