1

A Hebrew maid-servant is a girl below the age of majority sold by her father. When she manifests signs of physical maturity after reaching twelve years of age and becomes a na'arah, he does not have the right to sell her, even though he still has authority over her and may consecrate her to whomever he desires.

Even a girl who has already manifested physical signs that she is an aylonit, and thus is not fit to manifest physical signs of maturity, may be sold by her father as long as she is below majority. Neither a tumtum nor an androgynous may be sold as a Hebrew servant, nor as a Hebrew maid-servant.

א

אָמָה הָעִבְרִיָּה הִיא הַקְּטַנָּה שֶׁמְּכָרָהּ אָבִיהָ. וּמִשֶּׁתָּבִיא שְׁתֵּי שְׂעָרוֹת אַחַר שְׁתֵּים עֶשְׂרֵה שָׁנָה וְתֵעָשֶׂה נַעֲרָה אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְמָכְרָהּ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁעֲדַיִן יֵשׁ לוֹ רְשׁוּת בָּהּ. וְיֵשׁ לוֹ לְקַדְּשָׁהּ לְכָל מִי שֶׁיִּרְצֶה. אַף הַקְּטַנָּה שֶׁהִיא אַיְלוֹנִית בְּסִימָנֶיהָ וְאֵינָהּ רְאוּיָה לַהֲבָאַת שְׁתֵּי שְׂעָרוֹת יֵשׁ לְאָבִיהָ לְמָכְרָהּ כָּל זְמַן שֶׁהִיא קְטַנָּה. אֲבָל הַטֻּמְטוּם וְהָאַנְדְּרוֹגִינוּס אֵינוֹ נִמְכָּר לֹא כְּעֶבֶד עִבְרִי וְלֹא כְּדִין הָאָמָה הָעִבְרִיָּה:

2

A father may not sell his daughter as a maid-servant unless he became impoverished to the extent that he owns nothing, neither landed property, movable property, not even the clothing that he is wearing. Nevertheless, we compel a father to redeem his daughter after he sold her, because this is a blemish to the family.

If the father fled, died or did not have the resources to redeem her, she must work until she is released.

ב

אֵין הָאָב רַשַּׁאי לִמְכֹּר אֶת בִּתּוֹ אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן הֶעֱנִי וְלֹא נִשְׁאַר לוֹ כְּלוּם לֹא קַרְקַע וְלֹא מִטַּלְטְלִין וַאֲפִלּוּ כְּסוּת שֶׁעָלָיו. וְאַף עַל פִּי כֵן כּוֹפִין אֶת הָאָב לִפְדּוֹתָהּ אַחַר שֶׁמְּכָרָהּ מִשּׁוּם פְּגַם מִשְׁפָּחָה. בָּרַח הָאָב אוֹ שֶׁמֵּת אוֹ שֶׁלֹּא הָיָה לוֹ לִפְדּוֹתָהּ הֲרֵי זוֹ עוֹבֶדֶת עַד שֶׁתֵּצֵא:

3

A Hebrew maid-servant is acquired through the payment of money or objects that are worth money, or through the transfer of a legal document. She may not be acquired for a p'rutah, because it is necessary to acquire her with a sum that will allow her to reduce her price according to the number of years she has worked, so that she can redeem herself and depart.

How is she acquired through the transfer of a legal document? Her father should write to her master on a piece of paper or on a shard: "My daughter is sold to you," or "My daughter is acquired by you," and give it to the master. The deed of transfer of a Hebrew maid-servant must be written by the father.

ג

אָמָה הָעִבְרִיָּה נִקְנֵית בְּכֶסֶף אוֹ בִּשְׁוֵה כֶּסֶף וּבִשְׁטָר וְאֵינָהּ נִקְנֵית בִּפְרוּטָה מִפְּנֵי שֶׁצָּרִיךְ לִקְנוֹתָהּ בְּדָמִים שֶׁרְאוּיִין לְגֵרָעוֹן כְּדֵי שֶׁתִּגְרַע פִּדְיוֹנָהּ וְתֵצֵא. כֵּיצַד בִּשְׁטָר. כּוֹתֵב עַל הַנְּיָר אוֹ עַל הַחֶרֶס בִּתִּי מְכוּרָה לְךָ בִּתִּי קְנוּיָה לְךָ וְנוֹתֵן בְּיַד הָאָדוֹן. וּשְׁטַר אָמָה הָעִבְרִיָּה הָאָב כּוֹתְבוֹ:

4

A Hebrew maid-servant must work for six years, like a servant sold by the court, as reflected by Deuteronomy 15:12: "When your brother, a Jew or a Jewess, will be sold to you."

She receives her freedom at the beginning of the seventh year. If the Jubilee year falls in the middle of these six years, she is released as is a male servant. If her master dies, she is released without payment, even if he leaves a son, as is a servant whose ear is pierced, as reflected by Deuteronomy 15:17: "Even to your maid-servant shall you do this."

Similarly, she may be redeemed by paying a pro-rated figure that considers the time for which she served. If her master writes her a bill of release and waives her service for the remainder of the time, she is released without charge, like a Hebrew servant.

ד

אָמָה הָעִבְרִיָּה עוֹבֶדֶת שֵׁשׁ שָׁנִים כְּעֶבֶד שֶׁמְּכָרוּהוּ בֵּית דִּין שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים טו יב) "כִּי יִמָּכֵר לְךָ אָחִיךָ הָעִבְרִי אוֹ הָעִבְרִיָּה". וְיוֹצֵאת בִּתְחִלַּת שֶׁבַע. וְאִם פָּגַע בָּהּ יוֹבֵל בְּתוֹךְ שֵׁשׁ יוֹצְאָה חִנָּם כְּעֶבֶד. מֵת הָאָדוֹן אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִנִּיחַ בֶּן יוֹצְאָה חִנָּם כְּנִרְצָע שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים טו יז) "וְאַף לַאֲמָתְךָ תַּעֲשֶׂה כֵּן". וְכֵן מְגָרַעַת מִפִּדְיוֹנָהּ וְיוֹצְאָה. וְאִם כָּתַב לָהּ שְׁטַר שִׁחְרוּר וּמָחַל עַל הַשְּׁאָר יוֹצְאָה חִנָּם כְּעֶבֶד:

5

A Hebrew maid-servant has an advantage over a Hebrew servant in that she attains her freedom when she manifests signs of physical maturity.

What is implied? She manifested signs of physical maturity and became a na'arah - she is released and becomes free without charge, as Exodus 21:11 states: "She will depart without charge." With this verse, the Torah granted her another cause for release beyond those granted to servants. And according to the Oral Tradition, it was taught that this refers to the manifestation of physical signs of maturity. This law applies even if she manifests signs of physical maturity on the day she was purchased.

When a maid-servant is released, she returns to her father's domain until she attains bagrut and leaves her father's domain. If the girl is an aylonit, who is not granted a period of na'arah but goes directly to bagrut, when she attains bagrut she is granted her freedom.

ה

יְתֵרָה אָמָה הָעִבְרִיָּה שֶׁהִיא יוֹצְאָה בְּסִימָנִין. כֵּיצַד. כְּגוֹן שֶׁהֵבִיאָה סִימָנִין וְנַעֲשֵׂית נַעֲרָה יוֹצְאָה לְחֵרוּת בְּלֹא כֶּסֶף אֲפִלּוּ הֵבִיאָה סִימָנִין מֵאַחַר יוֹם שֶׁלְּקָחָהּ הֲרֵי זוֹ יוֹצֵאת לְחֵרוּת שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כא יא) "וְיָצְאָה חִנָּם" רִבָּה לָהּ הַכָּתוּב יְצִיאָה אַחֶרֶת בְּחִנָּם יֶתֶר עַל הָעֶבֶד. מִפִּי הַשְּׁמוּעָה לָמְדוּ שֶׁהִיא הֲבָאַת סִימָנֵי נַעֲרוּת. וְתַחְזֹר לִרְשׁוּת אָבִיהָ עַד שֶׁתִּבְגֹּר וְתֵצֵא מֵרְשׁוּת אָבִיהָ. הָיְתָה הַבַּת אַיְלוֹנִית שֶׁאֵין לָהּ יְמֵי נַעֲרוּת אֶלָּא יוֹצֵאת מִקַּטְנוּתָהּ לְבֶגֶר כֵּיוָן שֶׁבָּגְרָה תֵּצֵא לְחֵרוּת:

6

A Hebrew maid-servant is not released if her prominent limbs are damaged, as implied by Exodus 21:7: "She shall not depart as the servants depart." Similarly, a Hebrew servant is not released for such a reason. Instead, if his master knocks out his tooth or blinds him in an eye, he should pay him as one must pay another colleague whom one injures as explained in Hilchot Chovel Umazik.

Thus, we have learned that a Hebrew maid-servant is acquired through two means - the payment of money or the transfer of a legal document - and obtains her freedom through six means: the passage of six years, the advent of the Jubilee, paying a pro-rated amount of the purchase price, the transfer of a bill of release, the death of her master and the manifestation of signs of physical maturity.

ו

אֵין אָמָה הָעִבְרִיָּה יוֹצְאָה בְּרָאשֵׁי אֵיבָרִים שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כא ז) "לֹא תֵצֵא כְּצֵאת הָעֲבָדִים". וְכֵן עֶבֶד עִבְרִי אִם הִפִּיל לוֹ שִׁנּוֹ אוֹ סִמֵּא לוֹ עֵינוֹ מְשַׁלֵּם לוֹ כְּדִין הַחוֹבֵל בַּחֲבֵרוֹ כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ בְּהִלְכוֹת חוֹבֵל. נִמְצֵאתָ לָמֵד שֶׁאָמָה הָעִבְרִיָּה נִקְנֵית בִּשְׁנֵי דְּבָרִים בְּכֶסֶף אוֹ בִּשְׁטָר. וְקוֹנָה עַצְמָהּ בְּשִׁשָּׁה דְּבָרִים בְּשָׁנִים וּבְיוֹבֵל וּבְגִרְעוֹן כֶּסֶף וּבִשְׁטַר שִׁחְרוּר וּבְמִיתַת הָאָדוֹן וּבְסִימָנִין:

7

If the master of a Hebrew maid-servant designates her as a wife for himself or for his son, she is like any other consecrated woman. She is not released because of any of the reasons mentioned above - but only because of the death of her husband or through a bill of divorce. The mitzvah of designating a maid-servant as a wife takes precedence over the mitzvah of redeeming the maid-servant.

How is the mitzvah of designating a maid-servant as a wife performed? The master tells the maid-servant in the presence of two witnesses: "Behold, you are consecrated to me," "You are betrothed to me," or "Behold, you are my wife." This may be done even at the conclusion of the six years of her servitude before the setting of the sun. He need not give her anything, for the first moneyswere given with the intent that they could serve for the purpose of consecration.From this point onward, he must treat her as a wife, and not as a servant.

He may not designate two maid-servants as wives at the same time, for Exodus 21:8 states: "He will designate her."

How does a master designate a maid-servant as a wife for his son? If his son is past majority and gives his father permission to designate the maid-servant as his wife, the father tells the maid-servant in the presence of two witnesses: "Behold you are consecrated to my son."

ז

יִעֵד אוֹתָהּ הָאָדוֹן לְעַצְמוֹ אוֹ לִבְנוֹ הֲרֵי הִיא כִּשְׁאָר אֲרוּסוֹת וְאֵינָהּ יוֹצְאָה בְּאֶחָד מִכָּל אֵלּוּ אֶלָּא בְּמִיתַת הַבַּעַל אוֹ בְּגֵט. וּמִצְוַת יִעוּד קוֹדֶמֶת לְמִצְוַת פְּדִיָּה. כֵּיצַד מִצְוַת יִעוּד. אוֹמֵר לָהּ בִּפְנֵי שְׁנַיִם הֲרֵי אַתְּ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת לִי הֲרֵי אַתְּ מְאֹרֶסֶת לִי הֲרֵי אַתְּ לִי לְאִשָּׁה אֲפִלּוּ בְּסוֹף שֵׁשׁ סָמוּךְ לִשְׁקִיעַת הַחַמָּה. וְאֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לִתֵּן לָהּ כְּלוּם שֶׁמָּעוֹת הָרִאשׁוֹנוֹת לְקִדּוּשִׁין נִתְּנוּ וְנוֹהֵג בָּהּ מִנְהַג אִישׁוּת וְאֵינוֹ נוֹהֵג בָּהּ מִנְהַג שְׁפָחוֹת. וְאֵינוֹ מְיַעֵד שְׁתַּיִם כְּאַחַת שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כא ח) "יְעָדָהּ". וְכֵיצַד מְיַעֲדָהּ לִבְנוֹ. אִם הָיָה בְּנוֹ גָּדוֹל וְנָתַן רְשׁוּת לְאָבִיו לְיַעֲדָהּ לוֹ הֲרֵי הָאָב אוֹמֵר לָהּ בִּפְנֵי שְׁנַיִם הֲרֵי אַתְּ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת לִבְנִי:

8

A master may not designate a maid-servant as his wife or as his son's wife without her knowledge. Although her father already received money because of her, the Torah uses the term ya'adah, which implies with her knowledge.

If the master dies, his son cannot designate the maid-servant as a wife. For she obtained her freedom at her master's death.

ח

אֵין הָאָדוֹן מְיַעֵד אָמָה הָעִבְרִיָּה לֹא לוֹ וְלֹא לִבְנוֹ אֶלָּא מִדַּעְתָּהּ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁכְּבָר קִבֵּל אָבִיהָ מְעוֹתֶיהָ שֶׁהֲרֵי הוּא אוֹמֵר (שמות כא ח) "יְעָדָהּ" מִדַּעְתָּהּ. וְאִם מֵת הָאָדוֹן אֵין בְּנוֹ יוּכַל לְיַעֲדָהּ לוֹ שֶׁהֲרֵי יוֹצְאָה לְחֵרוּת בְּמִיתַת הָאָדוֹן:

9

Designating a maid-servant as a wife is equivalent to consecration, but not to marriage. Therefore, the husband may not become impure because of her, he does not inherit her estate, nor does he annul her vows until she enters the chuppah.

Exodus 21:11 states: "If he does not do any of these three for her" - i.e., designate her as a wife for himself or for his son, or enable her to be redeemed by paying a reduced amount - "she will be released without charge" - when she manifests signs of physical maturity, as we have explained, in addition to the ways she can obtain her freedom as a Hebrew servant obtains his.

ט

הַיִּעוּד כְּאֵרוּסִין וְאֵינוֹ כְּנִשּׂוּאִין לְפִיכָךְ אֵינוֹ מִתְטַמֵּא לָהּ וְלֹא יִירָשֶׁנָּה וְלֹא מֵפֵר נְדָרֶיהָ עַד שֶׁתִּכָּנֵס לְחֻפָּה. (שמות כא יא) "וְאִם שְׁלָשׁ אֵלֶּה לֹא יַעֲשֶׂה לָהּ", לֹא יִעֲדָהּ לוֹ וְלֹא יִעֲדָהּ לִבְנוֹ וְלֹא נִפְדֵּית בְּגִרְעוֹן כֶּסֶף, וְיָצְאָה חִנָּם בַּהֲבָאַת סִימָנִין כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ:

10

A master may not sell a Hebrew maid-servant, nor may he give her as a gift to another person, regardless of whether or not he shares a family connection with him. If he sells her or gives her away, his deeds are of no consequence, as Exodus 21:8 states: "He does not have the authority to sell her to a different man, when he betrays her."

Similarly, a master may not sell or give away a Hebrew servant to another person. It appears to me that the only reason the Torah had to state this explicitly with regard to a maid-servant is that the master is able to designate her as a wife for his son. Therefore, it is necessary to say that "He does not have the authority to sell her to a different man."

י

יֶתֶר עַל אוֹתָן הַדְּרָכִים שֶׁקּוֹנָה בָּהֶן עַצְמָהּ כְּעֶבֶד עִבְרִי. אֵין הָאָדוֹן יָכוֹל לִמְכֹּר אָמָה הָעִבְרִיָּה וְלֹא לִתְּנָהּ לְאִישׁ אַחֵר בֵּין רָחוֹק בֵּין קָרוֹב וְאִם מָכַר אוֹ נָתַן לֹא עָשָׂה כְּלוּם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כא ח) "לְעַם נָכְרִי לֹא יִמְשׁל לְמָכְרָהּ בְּבִגְדוֹ בָהּ". וְכֵן עֶבֶד עִבְרִי לֹא יָכוֹל לְמָכְרוֹ לְאַחֵר וְלֹא לִתְּנוֹ. וְיֵרָאֶה לִי שֶׁלֹּא הֻצְרַךְ הַכָּתוּב לֶאֱסֹר דָּבָר זֶה [בְּאָמָה] אֶלָּא מִפְּנֵי שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ לְיַעֲדָהּ לִבְנוֹ לְכָךְ נֶאֱמַר לְעַם נָכְרִי לֹא יִמְשׁל לְמָכְרָהּ:

11

A Hebrew maid-servant may be sold to a person only when a marriage between her and either him or his son would be binding, so that she is fit to be designated as a wife.

What is implied? A person may sell his daughter to his father. For although the master may not designate her as a wife, she is fit for his son to marry. For the maid-servant is his brother's daughter. A person may not, however, sell his daughter to his son, for she is not fit to marry the master, for she is his sister, nor is she fit to marry the master's son, for she is his father's sister.

יא

אֵין אָמָה הָעִבְרִיָּה נִמְכֶּרֶת אֶלָּא לְמִי שֶׁיֵּשׁ לָהּ עָלָיו אוֹ לִבְנוֹ קִדּוּשִׁין כְּדֵי שֶׁתְּהֵא רְאוּיָה לְיִעוּד. כֵּיצַד. מוֹכֵר אָדָם אֶת בִּתּוֹ לְאָבִיו שֶׁאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין הָאָדוֹן יָכוֹל לְיַעֲדָהּ לוֹ רְאוּיָה הִיא לִבְנוֹ שֶׁהֲרֵי הָאָמָה בַּת אָחִיו. אֲבָל אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לִמְכֹּר אֶת בִּתּוֹ לִבְנוֹ מִפְּנֵי שֶׁאֵינָהּ רְאוּיָה לְאָדוֹן שֶׁהֲרֵי הִיא אֲחוֹתוֹ וְלֹא לִבְנוֹ מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהִיא אֲחוֹת אָבִיו:

12

A person may sell his daughter to certain individuals whom she is forbidden to marry - e.g., a widow to a High Priest, or a divorcee or a woman who underwent chalitzah to an ordinary priest. For although marriage between such individuals is forbidden, the marriage is binding.

יב

יֵשׁ לְאָדָם לִמְכֹּר בִּתּוֹ לִפְסוּלִין כְּגוֹן אַלְמָנָה לְכֹהֵן גָּדוֹל גְּרוּשָׁה וַחֲלוּצָה לְכֹהֵן הֶדְיוֹט שֶׁאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהֵן בְּלָאו קִדּוּשִׁין תּוֹפְסִין בָּהֶן:

13

When a person has consecrated his daughter when she was a minor and she becomes widowed or divorced, he cannot sell her as a maid-servant afterwards. For a man may not sell his daughter as a maid-servant after she has been married. He may, however, sell her as a maid-servant after she had served as a maid- servant.

What is implied? The father sold her as a maid-servant and then the master designated her as a wife. Afterwards, the master died or divorced her, and she returned to her father's domain because she is a minor. Her father may sell her a second time, even to a priest.

Similarly, if she was widowed after being designated as a wife, and her yavam performed chalitzah for her, the chalitzah is unacceptable, because she is a minor. She is nevertheless disqualified from marrying a priest. Even so, her father may sell her as a maid-servant to a priest, because if he consecrated her the marriage bond would be binding, as explained above.

יג

הַמְקַדֵּשׁ אֶת בִּתּוֹ כְּשֶׁהִיא קְטַנָּה וְנִתְאַרְמְלָה אוֹ נִתְגָּרְשָׁה אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְמָכְרָהּ שֶׁאֵין אָדָם יָכוֹל לִמְכֹּר אֶת בִּתּוֹ לְשִׁפְחוּת אַחַר אִישׁוּת. אֲבָל מוֹכְרָהּ לְשִׁפְחָה אַחַר שִׁפְחוּת. כֵּיצַד. מְכָרָהּ לְשִׁפְחוּת תְּחִלָּה וְיִעֵד אוֹתָהּ הָאָדוֹן וּמֵת הָאָדוֹן אוֹ גֵּרְשָׁהּ וְחָזְרָה לִרְשׁוּת הָאָב כְּשֶׁהִיא קְטַנָּה הֲרֵי הָאָב מוֹכְרָהּ פַּעַם שְׁנִיָּה אֲפִלּוּ לְכֹהֵן. וְכֵן אִם נָפְלָה לִפְנֵי יָבָם מִן הַיִּעוּד וְחָלַץ לָהּ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִיא חֲלוּצָה פְּסוּלָה מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהִיא קְטַנָּה הֲרֵי נִפְסְלָה מִן הַכְּהֻנָּה וְיֵשׁ לוֹ לְמָכְרָהּ לְכֹהֵן הוֹאִיל וְקִדּוּשִׁין תּוֹפְסִין בָּהּ כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר:

14

When a person sells his daughter and she is released after serving six years, at the advent of the Jubilee year, or because he redeemed her by paying a prorated amount, he may sell her again if she is still a minor, as we have explained above.

יד

הַמּוֹכֵר אֶת בִּתּוֹ וְיָצְאָה בְּשָׁנִים אוֹ בְּיוֹבֵל אוֹ בְּגִרְעוֹן כֶּסֶף וַעֲדַיִן הִיא קְטַנָּה יֵשׁ לוֹ לַחְזֹר וּלְמָכְרָהּ פַּעַם שְׁנִיָּה כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ:

15

The following laws apply when a person sells his daughter as a maid-servant and then goes and consecrates her to another person: If the master desires to designate her as a wife, he may. If the master does not designate her as a wife - neither for himself nor for his son - when she leaves the master's domain her consecration to the other man is completed, and she becomes his wife.

טו

הַמּוֹכֵר אֶת בִּתּוֹ וְאַחַר כָּךְ הָלַךְ וְקִדְּשָׁהּ לְאַחֵר אִם רָצָה הָאָדוֹן לְיַעֵד מְיַעֵד וְאִם לֹא יִעֵד הָאָדוֹן לֹא לוֹ וְלֹא לִבְנוֹ כְּשֶׁתֵּצֵא מֵרְשׁוּת הָאָדוֹן יִגָּמְרוּ קִדּוּשֶׁיהָ וְתֵעָשֶׂה אֵשֶׁת אִישׁ:

16

When a person sells his daughter as a maid-servant, but stipulates that the owner may not designate her as a wife - if the owner desires, he may designate her as a wife, for he has made a stipulation against what is written in the Torah. And whenever a person makes a stipulation against what is written in the Torah, his stipulation is nullified.

טז

הַמּוֹכֵר אֶת בִּתּוֹ וּפָסַק עַל הָאָדוֹן עַל מְנָת שֶׁלֹּא לְיַעֵד אוֹתָהּ אִם רָצָה הָאָדוֹן לְיַעֵד מְיַעֵד שֶׁהִתְנָה עַל מַה שֶּׁכָּתוּב בַּתּוֹרָה שֶׁתְּנָאוֹ בָּטֵל: