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Daily Mitzvah

Positive Commandment 235; Negative Commandment 254, 255

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Positive Commandment 235 (Digest)
The Gentile Slave

"You shall have them serve you forever"Leviticus 25:46.

One who acquires a gentile slave must retain his services for perpetuity. The slave is only granted freedom in the event that the master causes him irreversible personal injury.

Negative Commandment 254 (Digest)
Returning a Runaway Slave who Flees to Israel

"You shall not deliver a servant to his master"Deuteronomy 23:16.

It is forbidden to return a non-Jewish slave to his master (even if he is Jewish) if he has escaped and fled to Israel. Rather, the slave must be given his freedom, and he must compensate his former master for his loss (i.e., his own monetary value). This because the slave has come to find refuge in the pure land that G‑d chose for His esteemed nation.

Negative Commandment 255 (Digest)
Hurtful Words to the Runaway Slave

"He shall dwell with you do not oppress him"Deuteronomy 23:17.

It is forbidden to verbally distress or humiliate a runaway slave. Though it is forbidden to humiliate anyone, especially a convert, one who does so to a runaway slave transgresses this additional prohibition, too.


Translation of (the unabridged text of) Sefer Hamitzvot by Rabbi Berel Bell, member of the Rabbinical Court of Montreal and director of Teacher Training for the Jewish Learning Institute.

From "Sefer Hamitzvot in English," published by Sichos in English.
Daily Quote
"One nation will struggle against the other" (Genesis 25:23). Jacob and Esau will never be equal: when one rises the other will fall, and when the other rises, the first will fall.
  –Rashi
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