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The Laws of Servants


They contain 13 mitzvot: five positive mitzvot and eight negative mitzvot. They are:

i) The laws governing the acquisition of a Hebrew servant;

ii) Not to sell him in the manner that servants are usually sold;

iii) Not to make him perform excruciating labor;

iv) Not to make him perform servile tasks;

v) Not to allow a resident alien to make him perform excruciating labor;

vi) To grant a Hebrew servant a severance gift when he attains his freedom;

vii) Not to let him go free empty-handed;

viii) To redeem a Hebrew maid-servant;

ix) To designate her as a wife;

x) Not to sell her a second time;

xi) To have a Canaanite servant work forever, unless his master causes one of his primary limbs to fall;

xii) Not to return to his master a servant who fled from the Diaspora to Eretz Yisrael;

xiii) Not to oppress this servant who has fled to us.

These mitzvot are explained in the chapters that follow.