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From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu> Date: Sun, 1 Aug 1999 23:37:17 -0400 (EDT) Subject: Morality of Slavery There have been some response to my posting defending Slavery in Messianic times (Because the owners help rehabilitate the thief who was sold into slavery and this is superior to a prison system). There have even been those who brought support for the theory (Like Yehoshua Cohen who cited Rav Kook). However there were several questions asked in v29n16 which have not yet been answered. I answer three points. David Cohen points out that my social worker theory (the owner rehabilitates the slave) would work well for a thief but not for those sold for debts or poverty. Indeed, that is the law. Only a thief is sold. People who can't pay debts are not sold. Poor people are also not sold by the courts. A person who voluntarily sells himself because of poverty has a status of a worker not a slave. (Notice how Rav HIrsch's theory is consistent with the Law, a characteristic of Rav Hirsch) Similarly Gittele Rapoport asks how this social worker theory applies to a non jewish slave (since non jewish slave status continues from generation to generation--where is the potential rehabilitation). But this too was answered in another posting: A non jewish slave can be free for purposes of doing a mitzvah (even a Rabbinic mitzvah.. cf Rambam Slaves Chapter 9:5-7). The example was brought of a Rabbi who freed his slave to become part of the minyan. This clearly creates an atmosphere where non jewish slaves 'want to do commandments' in order to become free. Hence we have social rehabilitation here also. Again we see here the consistency of Rav Hirsch's theory and Jewish law. Finally Yitzchok Zlochower still considers slavery barbaric. My problem with Yitzchok's posting is that it does not contain details. How for example does Yitzchok deal with a person who is so poor that he has already sold his house and clothes---should we allow him to make a legitimate deal to sell his minor children so he can support his other children and not let them beg? Is this barbaric? Does Yitzchak have a better solution? Furthermore how does Yitzchok deal with the thief? Does he put him in prison? If so why is that less barbaric then selling him to an individual owner for purposes of rehabilitation. My point is not that I agree or disagree but rather that no details have been discussed making the possibility of conversation difficult. Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA Moderator Rashi Is Simple http://www.shamash.org./rashi