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Shavuot
Amid Israel’s war in Gaza, there is talk of drafting yeshivah students into the army to bolster its ranks. On Shavuot, we celebrate the anniversary of receiving the Torah, so I want to write about the role of Torah in war. The Torah is not just a dusty old book …

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Home » Bo, Passover

Bo: The Reluctant Partner

Submitted by on January 22, 2006 – 4:40 amNo Comment | 2,971 views

A Permanent Loan

Before Jews left Egypt they were told to “borrow” gold and silver from their Egyptian neighbors. The Egyptians, who understood that this was to be at best a “long term loan,” were reluctant to part with their valuables, but in the end acquiesced to the loan.
Then, just before the Jewish exodus, many Egyptians, of their own volition, offered tremendous gifts of cattle and livestock. What happened? Why the sudden change?

Another Question

G-d did not want our ancestors to leave Egypt destitute. He could have told them to take whatever they liked from Egypt and it would have been fair payment for more than a century of slave labor. Yet he specifically wanted it done with Egyptian acquiescence. Why?

A Niche for the Jews

The purpose of the Egyptian exile was to refine the character of the Jewish people so that they would become worthy of G-d’s choice. This process of refinement required an oppressor, a slave driver. That was the Egyptian role. They performed their task admirably, maybe even a little too admirably, but the Jews left Egypt prepared to receive their mandate at Sinai.

And for the Oppressors Too

What of Egypt? Were they forever cast in the opposition role? G-d offered them the opportunity to contribute to the Divine master plan i.e. to grant wealth to the Jews and even contribute livestock towards the worship of G-d. At first they did so begrudgingly, they parted with their belongings only after being petitioned by Jews. Then they joined the act. They donated cattle enthusiastically and of their own volition.