The aggadic tangent into the world of the manna and the slav that appears toward the beginning of the eighth chapter of masechet Yoma continue to puzzle me. Its placement in the masechet as well as a deeper meaning are clearly significant. My sense is that the Bavli is teaching us something about the relationship between the manna and the prohibitions of Yom Kippur. How exactly that works still remains to be seen.
The gemara seems to be trying to work out a clean synthesis of Exodus chapter 15 and Numbers chapter 11 – the two main chapters in which we learn about the manna. In addition, the gemara goes on a tangent from the tangent to address some of the miraculous properties of the slav.
The shiur started with a brief excursion into the world of the slav (the quail-like bird the the Jewish People ate in the desert). There is a fundamental problem with the narrative when we compare Exodus 15 to Numbers 11. It is clear that in Exodus they are given the meat of the slav to eat. They do not move very far until the 10th chapter of Numbers as the march to Israel begins. Surprisingly, at the beginning of the chapter the people complain about not having meat and they are given the slav. Did the slav stop and then re-start? Did something change in the people that lead them to ask again?
The gemara in Arachin (16a-b) seems to address this question. There is a debate on the page between Rashi (never stopped) and Tosafot (Rav Yosef Kara – stopped and started) that is mirrored by the debate of Ramban (never stopped) and Chizkuni (stopped and started) on Shemot 15. You can find those sources here.
You can follow the material in Yoma here.
Here is the audio of the shiur that includes the question of the Slav as well as some of the gemara in Yoma: