Lessons from the Gold and Silver of Slavery and the Journey to Freedom

When you’ve been faced with a difficult experience, were you able to learn something from it?  Did you internalize these lessons and continue to grow afterwards? Or did you miss an opportunity to learn and grow?

In Exodus, the Hebrew slaves were given gold and silver by the Egyptians (Exodus 3:22). After crossing the Sea of Reeds, the Children of Israel (comprised of mixed multitude of Hebrew slaves and some Egyptians), used this gold and silver to build two objects: a Golden Calf (Exodus 32:4) and they also build the Arc of the Covenant (Exodus 25:11).

Some built The Golden Calf, an idol to worship in the instead of God, which greatly angered God. This demonstrated that some of the Children of Israel had lost their way, returning to idol worship, and giving up faith in God.

Others built the Arc of the Covenant. A box beautifully decorated with the gold and silver from Egypt. Inside they placed two sets of tablets containing the Ten Commandments, one set was written by God and broken by Moses while other was written by Moses and intact. They protected the Arc of the Covenant in the Wilderness and later brought it to the Land of Israel where it was placed in Shiloh for 369 years.

The Golden Calf was an object to worship and had no benefits and no lasting significance.  The Arc of the Covenant was a vehicle to enable worship – not the object – but the lessons contained within. The lasting impact of the Arc of the Covenant has been significant  – as we continue to honor the learnings it holds today.

Here are a few questions for your seder inspired by the biblical use of gold and silver, hopefully they inspire lively and thought-provoking discussions.


  • What is an example of your “gold and silver” (your learnings) from a difficult experience?
  • Did you have an experience of creating a Golden Calf?
  • When have you created an Arc of the Covenant with your learnings?


  • Have you had a difficult experience and learned something valuable?
  • Have you even forgotten your lessons and made the same mistake again?
  • What is an example of a lesson that you learned that you would never forget?