Thought of the Week: Bo - 5779
As the Jewish People were preparing for the departure from Egypt, The Almighty asked Moshe to "please" speak to the people that they should request from the Egyptians silver and gold vessels. This action was a fair and valid solicitation, since payment for the many years of harsh labor was due.
Over the ages, commentators have addressed the polite requests of Hashem, as if the taking of silver and gold was a burden for the people. Rabbi Zalman Sorotzkin, also known as the Lutzker Rav, notes that after the events of the Holocaust, and the emotional debate in Israel whether to accept reparations from Germany, we can appreciate why this was indeed communicated as a courtesy by the Jewish People towards Hashem.
During the 1952 debate on the issue of reparations, many - including Menachem Begin - considered the offer as blood money. The passions carried over into the streets. Outside the Knesset, thousands of Israelis protested and rioted in protest at the decision, at times even pelting the Knesset building with stones, leading the police to use tear gas to disperse the crowds.
Thus, considering the emotional difficulty in taking payment from a nation that caused so much harm, pain and agony - even for what the Jewish people rightfully deserved - Hashem added the "please" to the request.