(c) 2000 Dr Hendel; 1st appeared in Torah Forum (c) Project Genesis
FROM:           Russell Hendel (rjhendel@juno.com)
DATE:           Wed, 16 Oct 1996 19:05:43 -0400
SUBJECT:        RE: Slavery

It says explicitly in Proverbs and we recite every week:
Her ways our pleasant ways and her sidepaths are peaceful. It follows
that we consider the slavery laws of the Torah as but one more example
of the pleasant and peaceful laws of Hashem.

To help understand how the Torah Slavery laws are pleasant and peaceful we
should employ a Talmudic type approach of **using distinctions and details**.
Slavery by itself is just one word which *could* connote
different things to different people. It may for instance connote the
atrocities mentioned in Uncle Tom's Cabin. However, by using an approach
of distinctions and details we can document *why* we think the Torah is

Slavery is pleasant because the master should...
** give his slave a sample from every new dish he serves in his house
** give equal treatment to his slave in food, drinks, cloth and housing
(Rambam,Slavery,end of 1)
** respect the slaves vocational training and not treat him like a rookie
** respect the slaves desire to live in a descent Jewish neighborhood
(Slavery, 8)
** be sensitive to the slaves heightened vulnerability (Slavery 8)
** know that "slavery" in Hebrew simply means "worker" while worker in
Hebrew is "wageearner" (EVD vs SCR).

Thus by using an approach of details and distinctions we have a
*heightened* awareness of our faith in the pleasantness of the Torah.

Perhaps one component of the dictum: An ordinary person (Am Haaretz) cannot
be Pious (literally: Chasidic) --- is that true piety requires an approach
of distinctions and details.

Russell Jay Hendel, Ph.d, ASA, rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu