The Jewish Bondsman

"If you acquire a bondsman"Exodus 21:2.

We are commanded [to follow the rules outlined in the Torah] regarding the Jewish bondsman.

Selling a Jewish Bondsman in a Slavemarket

"They shall not be sold as slaves"Leviticus 25:42.

It is forbidden to sell a Jewish bondsman as slaves are sold—on the auction block at a slavemarket. Rather, his services must be sold discreetly, in a respectful manner.

(This prohibition also includes kidnapping and selling, which is a capital offense.)

Ordering a Jewish Bondsman to do Unnecessary Work

"You shall not work him with rigor"Leviticus 25:43.

It is forbidden to instruct a Jewish bondsman to perform a work that has no purpose. Even to order him to heat up a glass of water, if it isn't needed, is forbidden.

Denigrating Treatment of a Jewish Bondsman

"You shall not work him as a slave"Leviticus 25:39.

It is forbidden to order a Jewish bondsman to perform humiliating labors that are typically performed by slaves. Rather, he may be given only such jobs that an employed worker would agree to do.

Allowing a Gentile Master to Order a Jewish Bondsman to do Unnecessary Work

"He shall not rule over him with rigor in your sight"Leviticus 25:53.

We may not allow a non-Jew who lives under Jewish jurisdiction to order a Jewish bondsman in his service to do unnecessary work while we watch. We may not say, "Since this Jew willingly allowed himself to be sold to this gentile, it is not our concern what the gentile compels him to do," rather we must still prevent the gentile from overtly mistreating his Jewish worker. (We are not, however, required to inquire as to what occurs in the privacy of his home, where we cannot see what transpires.)