Individual Postings 1st appeared(& were copied in html form) on the Email List Mail Jewish

From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu> Date: Tue, 10 Aug 1999 01:20:02 -0400 (EDT) Subject: Slaves CAN own;They can't be beaten; They do have rights Some recent postings suggest that slaves can't own and can be beaten as much as a master wants. Richard Walpole countersuggests that slaves have a POW status. Actually I argue that their status is like that of children (You can hit children for discipline, but the children have rights, can sue in courts and can own things). Let me briefly cite sources: * A canaanite slave can own things without giving them to his master!!! (See Rambam Gifts 3,12:13) * The prohibition against destroying or causing unnecessary pain is universal and applies to Jews, Non-jews, adults, children and even animals. Indeed, it is prohibited to torture an animal (which is your property; how could a slave be inferior to an animal??!?) (However different prohibitions apply to different groups--also Slaves do not receive the damage monies for damage to them). The Rambam explicitly limits the owners right to "hit slaves" to such objects as are normally used for discipline (Murder 2:14) * The Rambam explicitly states that ALL JEWS (not just the courts) are OBLIGATED to help Canaanite slaves live. Furthermore the owner only has permission to tell the slave "Work for me but you earn for your food separately" when "there is a market for his work". But in a year of famine the owner has no such permission. The slave may even have the right during famine years to say "Either feed me or free me" (See Rambam, Slaves 9:7, See Gitin 12 and see the discussions in the SA and Kesef Mishnah). There are many more laws. I believe that this answers some of the comments in recent issues(V29n29-34). "A slave is property--there is nothing else you can tell me (Akiva Miller)" or "An owner can beat a slave as much as he wants provided he doesn't kill him. A slave has no recourse (Zvi Weiss)" In passing, our religion taught the world that man was created in the image of God. Therefore I don't think that "every question is justified" simply because of some phrases or statements used in the Talmud. Such statements have to be taken against the background that slaves are people with human status. Russell Hendel;Phd ASA;Moderator Rashi is Simple;http://www.shamash.org/rashi