ישיבת כרם ביבנה

העבד החופשי

הרב יונתן כהן


The Free Slave Yonatan Kohn, Sgan Mashgiach for Overseas Students Among the many mitzvot discussed in this week’s parshah is the mitzvah not to restore a runaway slave to his master. The Torah writes, “Do not consign a slave to his masters, who would be saved to you from his masters. With you shall he settle, among you, in the place that he chooses in one of your gates, in that which is good for him; do not oppress him” (Devarim 23:16-17). A number of the commentators relate to the seemingly insignificant placement of this mitzvah, sandwiched between the mitzvah of keeping a holy camp of war and the mitzvah banning prostitution. Seforno suggests, “After speaking of the camp of the soldiers, [the Torah] speaks of those things that occur within [the camp], to rectify them. Those are the matter of the runaway slave and the matter of the harlots who are [apt to be] found in the camp of soldiers.” Similarly, Ramban seems to assume that a slave may often seize upon the opportunity offered by military conflict to seek refuge from his master in the warring camp. In this approach, this mitzvah relates to the Torah’s system of war conduct. Under these circumstances of escape, the Torah forbids a Jew from accepting ransom to restore the slave. But, as Ramban notes, the slave does not transfer to Jewish ownership. Rather, he is to become a free man altogether. Ramban offers two possible motives for this mitzvah. One, his having joined the Jewish society will allow him to serve G-d, and it would be wrong to return him to an idolatrous context. Two, we should be wary that the slave will seize upon his refuge as an opportunity to learn about the Jewish camp and will deliver military intelligence back to the enemy. But the mitzvah also encompasses the scenario in which the slave of a foreign Jew escapes to the land of Israel, in which case he is also offered refuge and not returned to his master outside Israel. Ramban explains that, akin to the heathen’s runaway slave, this escaped slave of a Jew also stands to gain spiritually. It is spiritually superior to be in Israel, where there are more mitzvot; and we will not forcibly send him to a place of less mitzvot. Sefer HaChinuch expands upon this point, the aspect of the mitzvah that surrounds Eretz Yisrael. In his words (Mitzvah 582), “Gd wanted for the glory of the land that someone who escaped there will be saved from slavery in order that we would place in our hearts the glory of the place....” The “glory of the place” that Sefer HaChinuch describes is demonstrated in this instance by the Torah’s insistence that a slave may not be returned. One might have expected that the slave would be subject to the law outlined earlier in the parshah, under which one is required to return “your brother’s every lost [property]” (Devarim 22:3). But here the Torah emphatically and explicitly rules that a slave does not fit that category. For the Torah, there is a requirement to return a lost article or animal, but not a slave. No person can be described as truly belonging to another. Everyone is undeniably equally fundamentally free.

 

 

קוד השיעור: 4973

סרוק כדי להעלות את השיעור באתר:

Parshat Ki Teze 5771

לשליחת שאלה או הארה בנוגע לשיעור:




הרב מרדכי גרינברג <br> נשיא הישיבה
הרב מרדכי גרינברג
נשיא הישיבה
ע K
הרב זכריה טובי <br> ראש הכולל
הרב זכריה טובי
ראש הכולל
ע K
הרב מרדכי גרינברג <br> נשיא הישיבה
הרב מרדכי גרינברג
נשיא הישיבה
ע K
הרב מרדכי גרינברג <br> נשיא הישיבה
הרב מרדכי גרינברג
נשיא הישיבה
ע K
הרב אברהם ריבלין, המשגיח הרוחני לשעבר
הרב אברהם ריבלין, המשגיח הרוחני לשעבר
ע K
הרב אברהם ריבלין, המשגיח הרוחני לשעבר
הרב אברהם ריבלין, המשגיח הרוחני לשעבר
ע K