Rabbi Milevsky's Thought of the Week: Bo- 5782
THE REAL WEALTH
The Torah teaches that Hashem asked Moshe to inform the People of Israel, as they were preparing for the departure from Mitzraim, to request items of value, "jewels of silver and jewels of gold," from the Egyptians. The Medrash notes that this request was conveyed so that Avraham will not complain to Hashem that He fulfilled the decree of enslavement, yet did not fulfill the promise of great wealth.
This Midrashic source seems to indicate that if not for the concern of Avraham Avinu, 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 "jewels of silver and jewels of gold.” 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 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.