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From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@saber.towson.edu> Date: Mon, 24 Jul 2000 02:21:31 -0400 (EDT) Subject: RE: Slavery and Gender Differences In v32n93 Akiva Miller raises the question as to why there is a difference between boys and girls in slavery. I think this can be adequately answered using the concept of "long range effects". Let me illustrate with an example from last weeks TOrah portion which dealt with the CHOK of inheritance laws. Under inheritance laws daughters (a) inherit nothing from fathers if a boy heir is present but (b) women are maintained/supported by their husbands estate in case of death. Without getting into details we could easily see the argument that it would be unfair if women BOTH received 50% of their parents estates AND ALSO were supported by their husbands estate in the event they became widowed. Hence it is more equitable to let the men inherit parents and let the women be supported by estates of spouses. Note: This is not completely equitable; but the lack of fairness is an attribute of reality not an attribute of the law. In the long run or on the average inheritance will be equal. Returning to slavery we know that by and large women are more vulnerable to rape than men. Hence we have the laws that (a) adult women are NEVER sold at all (The risk is to great); (b) girls from poor families (who are expected to have a difficult time in the world when they become teenagers) are allowed to grow up in someone elses household with a good potential for marriage (The status of slavery is really not there since minors and slaves have about equal rights). All I am saying is that in the long run this works out on the average. For those who want further details you can check Rambam slavery chapters 7 and 9 who writes as law that "if a female slave is being 'played with' then she should be freed to give her status and prevent it'. In chapter 9 we further see a number of prohibitions of slave ownership between members of the opposite sex. Finally we are all aware that teenagers from poor families historically enter prostitution in greater numbers than other girls. Thus we see that the issue of vulnerability does enter The Torah simply chose a "good way" out that maximizes opportunities Russell Jay Hendel; phd ASA; Moderator Rashi is Simple; http://www.rashiyomi.com