Manna

From Academic Kids

Manna (sometimes or archaically spelled mana) is the name of the food miraculously produced for the Israelites in the desert in the book of Exodus. Manna ceased to appear when the Israelites first harvested their crops in their new homeland. "Man hu", or "manna" in the Hebrew language is translated as "what is it".

Contents

Biblical

The mysterious substance which (according to the Bible) was provided miraculously by God to the Hebrews in the desert. It has also been used to refer to any divine or spiritual nourishment, in reference to the above. Christian use of the word "manna" in reference to this, according to some, has definite archetypal similarities to Mana.

Some modern critics believe this may have been an edible wafer or sap of a variety of cactus found in the Sinai peninsula, which may have had appetite-suppressing effects. Others have hypothesized that it was one of the species of kosher locusts found in the region.

Scientific

The term manna is also used in the modern context to refer to a secretion from various plants, including certain desert or semi-desert shrubs and especially the Ash Fraxinus ornus (manna or flowering ash) of Southern Europe. The material is produced by sap-sucking insects that secrete a honeydew like liquid, that when dried forms manna; it has a sweet taste. Eaten in large quantities, it is mildly laxative and has been used medicinally for that purpose.

Linguistics

Manna (μάννα or in contemporary greek μάνα), in greek language means mother. A mother in greek language can be called also mama (μαμά), metera (μητέρα) or meter (μήτηρ).

The word originates also in Polynesian religion, and its modern use is a result of the popularization of the concept by anthropology and, to a great extent, by certain varieties of fantasy fiction. In Polynesian culture (e.g., Hawaiian, Māori), mana is analogous to respect, but it combines elements of respect, authority, power, and prestige. To have mana is to have influence and authority. This property is not limited to persons—peoples, governments, places, and inanimate objects can possess mana. In Hawaiian, mana loa means great power or almighty.

The word mana is also found in Norse mythology, and it is at least in part to this source that we owe its modern use. However, in Norse mythology, mana was restricted to the vital life-essence of all that was good; i.e., love, harmony, etc. It was believed to be the source tapped into to perform white magic.

See also

he:מן nl:Manna sv:Manna cs:Mana

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