|Canaanite slave watches Hebrew slave go to freedom |
and land while he remains behind
Other restrictions apply to both Jewish and Non-Jewish slaves, such as the law that a slave who is beaten so severely that he looses a tooth or other limb goes free. Perhaps the strongest signal against slavery, is the prohibition of returning an escaped slave to his master. “do not give over a slave to his master who will be saved to you from his master. He should dwell with you, in the place that he will choose in one of your gates, do not mistreat him”. This is interpreted as applying to a non-Jewish slave who escaped his Jewish master who lives outside the holy land, if the slave reaches the holy land.
“Torah is a radical element in our world. …On the one hand, the Torah speaks from a future that has yet to occur, inspiring us with its vision, pulling us toward that time. On the other hand, the Torah must deal with the world as it is, not artificially imposing upon it a foreign mold, but bringing it on its own from the place it stands by nature and circumstance to the place it truly belongs. Take an agrarian society surrounded by hostile nations. Go in there and forcefully abolish slavery. The result? …eventually, a return to slavery until the underlying conditions change. Not a good idea. Better idea: Place humane restrictions upon the institution of indentured servitude. Yes, it's still ugly, but in the meantime, you'll teach people compassion and kindness. Eventually, things change and slavery becomes an anachronism for such a society…So the "conservative-radical" approach of Torah is this: Work with the status quo to get beyond it. Torah is more about process than about content.”