In parashat Bo, we learn of the last plagues that God cast on the Egyptians in order to attain the liberation of the Hebrew people. It was especially the final plague, death of the first-born, that convinced Pharaoh to allow the Hebrews to leave the land of Egypt.
At the most anticipated time, the Torah tells us that the people, following Moses’ orders, “borrow, each man from his neighbor and each woman from hers, objects of silver and gold. The Lord disposed the Egyptians favorably toward the people and they let them have their request; thus they stripped the Egyptians.” (Sh’mot 12:35-36).
I would like to stop and analyze this verse which has raised several questions as to its meaning. These people were slaves for hundreds of years; they suffered, they were abused, and now, when they are able to leave that hellish life, they dare to ask their masters for silver and gold! It does not sound like the request of a slave. However, we can argue that it was Moses, supported by God, who led them to make this request. Moses, a free-thinking man, knew that a people without resources would be doomed to failure. Freedom would be of no use without the means to survive and live well.