Rabbi Milevsky's Thought of the Week: Bo - 5774
“Please speak in the ears of the people, and let every man borrow of his neighbour, and every woman of her neighbour, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold.” –Shemot 11:2
Rashi makes reference to the Midrash that Hashem asked Moshe to tell the People of Israel to request items of value, so that Avraham will not complain, “Hashem You have fulfilled the decree of enslavement yet you have not fulfilled the promise of great wealth”
This Rabbinic source seems to imply that if not for Avraham Avinu kvetching to Hashem, the Almighty would not remain true to His word. This is fairly difficult to understand since Hashem is the essence of truth!
The commentators explain that Hashem’s promise to Avraham that he would grant his descendants “great wealth” was never meant to be a reference to riches in the form of gold and silver. The intention in His promise of “great wealth” was the wealth that would become ours at the revelation of the Torah at Mount Sinai. There the Jewish People would acquire the greatest gift man can ever aspire to possess: spiritual life in this world and eternal existence in the World to Come. However, when the time arrived for Hashem to fulfill His promise, the Jews in Egypt had fallen to such a low spiritual level that they were unable to view the Torah as a valuable acquisition.
Thus, Hashem wanted to give the Jews something they would consider a treasure. Consequently, Hashem broadened the intent of His original promise and enabled the Jews to amass a fortune.