Money is hard to come by nowadays, the economy is tight and business seems lacking.
Imagine arriving at a cash machine and asking to take out £100. The cash machine proceeds to give you £200. You are confused, and check your balance and note that the balance has only been reduced by £100. Wow. You try again, and again you are granted double the money free. This in fact was the case a few years ago in the affluent village of Milford-on-Sea. Hundreds of people cashed in after an ATM machine began paying out double – and a bank said they could keep the unexpected windfall. Some customers walked away thousands of pounds better off after the cash bonanza story, rapidly spread.
When there is free money around, all are happy to take advantage of the situation.
It is startling to note that in this week’s Parasha, there appears to be a lot of free money around, yet the people seem to have to been pleaded with in order for them to take advantage of the free money.
“Daber Na B’Ozanei Ha’Am, V’Yishalu …. Klei Kesef U’Klei Zahav…”
Hashem tells Moshe Rabbeinu “Please speak into the ears of (i.e., make it very clear to) the Jewish people that they should borrow/seek …. Gold and silver vessels from the Egyptians”. (Shemot 11:2)
Please? Why does Hashem have to ask Moshe with the word please? Surely, everyone would be excited at such a mitzvah as getting wealthy?
Rashi explains quoting the Yalkut Shimoni: Many years earlier at the Brit Ben Habetarim, Avraham was told that his future generations would be in a foreign land and subject to harsh servitude. Hashem promised Avraham that they would eventually leave with great wealth.
Hence, now the time had come to command them to leave, Hashem emphasised to Moshe – “Please ask them to take from the Egyptians, so that the ancient Tsadik (Avraham Avinu) won’t accuse (Hashem) of keeping only half of the Pasuk – “and they shall work exceedingly hard and suffer”, but not the half “and they shall leave Egypt with vast wealth”.
Thus, Hashem did not want Avraham to just witness the harsh servitude; He wanted him to see that the Bnei Yisrael would leave with extra wealth as promised.
This in itself seems strange. Why would Avraham question Hashem? Furthermore, this still does not answer the question as to why Hashem needs to plead with the Bnei Yisrael to take the gold and silver. Surely a normal command would have done, why the ‘please’?
In order to understand let us take a deeper look at the way we perform Mitzvot.
Our Sages state Zerizim Makdimim Lemitsvot – there is an urgency to perform Mitzvot as quick as possible. For example, the best time for a Brit Mila is in the early morning (after sunrise).
When we have the ability to perform a mitzvah we should run towards it and without delay.
There is a question raised amongst the sages as to what happens when delaying the Mitzvah might be beneficial in that it would add to its honour. For example, we have a mitzvah to recite Hallel. However, shall we recite it early after the Shacharit prayer, or shall we wait a bit until there are many more people in the synagogue and the mit.