"...To test you, to know what was in your heart…and He afflicted you, and allowed you to hunger and fed you with manna.." (Deut. 8:2,3)

"From this we learn that we are to kindle lights on the Shabbat." (Yalkut Shimoni)

When they ate the manna from Heaven, the Children of Israel could taste in it the flavor of any number of delicacies. Yet they were hungry and said: "But now our soul is dried away; there is nothing at all; we have nothing except this manna to look to". (Num. 11:6)

...whereas they could taste a great variety of flavors...all they could see...was the same manna...

According to the Sages, the reason for the complaint by the Children of Israel was that whereas they could taste a great variety of flavors when they partook of the food from Heaven, all they could see with their eyes was the same manna each day.

Similarly, the blind will not be satisfied, regardless of how much they eat, because they are unable to see what it is they are tasting.

From this we may deduce that we must kindle lights before the Shabbat in order to increase our enjoyment of the Day of Rest, for if we do not have enough light to see our Shabbat dinner, our tables may be piled high with fine foods but we will remain hungry.

Scripture speaks of the manna in terms of affliction and hunger because the Children of Israel could not see the delicacies of which the flavor of the manna reminded them. It stands to reason, therefore, that we should kindle lights in order to make the Shabbat a delight, as it should be, instead of a hardship.

[Adapted from: "Wellsprings of Torah" by Alexander Zusia Friedman]