Vayikra (Leviticus) Chapter 25

39And if your brother becomes destitute with you, and is sold to you, do not work him with slave labor.   לטוְכִֽי־יָמ֥וּךְ אָחִ֛יךָ עִמָּ֖ךְ וְנִמְכַּר־לָ֑ךְ לֹא־תַֽעֲבֹ֥ד בּ֖וֹ עֲבֹ֥דַת עָֽבֶד:
slave labor: Degrading work, through which he is made to look like a slave (עֶבֶד), e.g., he must not carry his clothes after him to the bathhouse, or put on his shoes for him. — [Torath Kohanim 25:80]   עֲבֹדַת עָֽבֶד: עֲבוֹדָה שֶׁל גְּנַאי שֶׁיְּהֵא נִכָּר בָּהּ כְּעֶבֶד, שֶׁלֹּא יוֹלִיךְ כֵּלָיו אַחֲרָיו לְבֵית הַמֶּרְחָץ וְלֹא יַנְעִיל לוֹ מִנְעָלָיו (עי' ספרא):
40As an employee or a [hired] resident, he shall be with you; until the Jubilee year he shall work with you.   מכְּשָׂכִ֥יר כְּתוֹשָׁ֖ב יִֽהְיֶ֣ה עִמָּ֑ךְ עַד־שְׁנַ֥ת הַיֹּבֵ֖ל יַֽעֲבֹ֥ד עִמָּֽךְ:
As an employee or a [hired] resident: [Give him dignified jobs, e.g.,] work in agriculture and craftsmanship; treat him like other employees.   כְּשָׂכִיר כְּתוֹשָׁב: עֲבוֹדַת קַרְקַע וּמְלֶאכֶת אֻמָּנוּת כִּשְׁאָר שְׂכִירִים הִתְנַהֵג בּוֹ:
until the Jubilee year: i.e., if the Jubilee year occurs before the six years [of his servitude have elapsed (see Exod. 21:2)], the Jubilee [immediately] takes him out [of servitude].   עַד־שְׁנַת הַיֹּבֵל: אִם פָּגַע בּוֹ יוֹבֵל לִפְנֵי שֵׁשׁ שָׁנִים הַיּוֹבֵל מוֹצִיאוֹ:
41Then, he shall leave you he, and his children with him, and he shall return to his family and resume the status of his fathers.   מאוְיָצָא֙ מֵֽעִמָּ֔ךְ ה֖וּא וּבָנָ֣יו עִמּ֑וֹ וְשָׁב֙ אֶל־מִשְׁפַּחְתּ֔וֹ וְאֶל־אֲחֻזַּ֥ת אֲבֹתָ֖יו יָשֽׁוּב:
he, and his children with him: Says Rabbi Simeon: If he was sold, who sold his children [that Scripture states that his children go free with him]? However, from here, [we learn] that his master is obligated to provide food for his children [and, in this sense, they are released with their father]. — [Kid. 22a]   הוּא וּבָנָיו עִמּוֹ: אָמַר רַ' שִׁמְעוֹן אִם הוּא נִמְכַּר, בָּנָיו מִי מְכָרָן? אֶלָּא מִכָּאן שֶׁרַבּוֹ חַיָּב בִּמְזוֹנוֹת בָּנָיו (קידושין כ"ב):
the status of his fathers: To his fathers’ [former] honor, and he must not be degraded for it [i.e., for having been a servant]. - [Mak. 13a and Rashi there] [Thus,] אֲחֻזַּת - [means here:] “The status of.” - [Mak. 13a and Rashi there]   וְאֶל־אֲחֻזַּת אֲבֹתָיו: אֶל כְּבוֹד אֲבוֹתָיו, וְאֵין לְזַלְזְלוֹ בְּכָךְ (ספרא; מכילתא י"ג):
42For they are My servants, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt they shall not be sold as a slave is sold.   מבכִּֽי־עֲבָדַ֣י הֵ֔ם אֲשֶׁר־הוֹצֵ֥אתִי אֹתָ֖ם מֵאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרָ֑יִם לֹ֥א יִמָּֽכְר֖וּ מִמְכֶּ֥רֶת עָֽבֶד:
For they are My servants: My contract came first. - [Torath Kohanim 25:85]   כִּֽי־עֲבָדַי הֵם: שְׁטָרִי קוֹדֵם (ספרא):
They shall not be sold in the way a slave is sold: namely, by public announcement, saying: “Here is a slave for sale!” Neither may they stand him up on an auctioning block [for public sale]. — [Torath Kohanim 25:85]   לֹא יִמָּֽכְרוּ מִמְכֶּרֶת עָֽבֶד: בְּהַכְרָזָה — "כָּאן יֵשׁ עֶבֶד לִמְכֹּר" וְלֹא יַעֲמִידֶנּוּ עַל אֶבֶן הַלֶּקַח (ספרא):
43You shall not work him with rigor, and you shall fear your God.   מגלֹֽא־תִרְדֶּ֥ה ב֖וֹ בְּפָ֑רֶךְ וְיָרֵ֖אתָ מֵֽאֱלֹהֶֽיךָ:
You shall not enslave him through rigor: Unnecessary jobs, for the purpose of tormenting him. E.g., do not say to him: “Warm up this drink for me,” when you do not need it; or “Hoe under this vine until I come back” [and you may never come back there (Sifthei Chachamim on verse 53)]. Perhaps you will say, “No one really knows whether it is necessary or not, and I say that it is necessary!” This matter is held [secretly] in a man’s heart [for no one knows his true intentions]. Therefore, Scripture states, “and you shall fear [your God” for He is privy to all inner thoughts]. — [Torath Kohanim 25: 86]   לֹֽא־תִרְדֶּה בוֹ בְּפָרֶךְ: מְלָאכָה שֶׁלֹּא לְצֹרֶךְ, כְּדֵי לְעַנּוֹתוֹ, אַל תֹּאמַר לוֹ, הָחֵם לִי אֶת הַכּוֹס הַזֶּה וְהוּא אֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ, עֲדֹר תַּחַת הַגֶּפֶן עַד שֶׁאָבֹא; שֶׁמָּא תֹאמַר אֵין מַכִּיר בַּדָּבָר אִם לְצֹרֶךְ אִם לָאו, וְאוֹמֵר אֲנִי לוֹ שֶׁהוּא לְצֹרֶךְ, הֲרֵי הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה מָסוּר לְלִבּוֹ, לְכָךְ נֶאֱמַר "וְיָרֵאתָ" (שם):
44Your male slave or female slave whom you may have from the nations that are around you, from them you may acquire a male slave or a female slave.   מדוְעַבְדְּךָ֥ וַֽאֲמָֽתְךָ֖ אֲשֶׁ֣ר יִֽהְיוּ־לָ֑ךְ מֵאֵ֣ת הַגּוֹיִ֗ם אֲשֶׁר֙ סְבִיבֹ֣תֵיכֶ֔ם מֵהֶ֥ם תִּקְנ֖וּ עֶ֥בֶד וְאָמָֽה:
Your male slave or female slave that you have: If you say, “If so [that I may give my Jewish servant only skilled labor to do,] by whom shall I be served? Over my [Jewish] servants I do not have real power [as I must treat them like hired employees (see verse 40 above)]. Of the seven nations I am not allowed to possess [a slave], for You have warned me, ‘you shall not allow any soul to live’ (Deut. 20:16), So who will serve me [as a slave]?” [To this, God answers:]   וְעַבְדְּךָ וַֽאֲמָֽתְךָ אֲשֶׁר יִֽהְיוּ־לָךְ: אִם תֹּאמַר אִם כֵּן בְּמָה אֶשְׁתַּמֵּשׁ? בַּעֲבָדַי אֵינִי מוֹשֵׁל, בָּאֻמּוֹת אֵינִי נוֹחֵל, שֶׁהֲרֵי הִזְהַרְתַּנִי לֹא תְחַיֶּה כָּל נְשָׁמָה, אֶלָּא מִי יְשַׁמְּשֵׁנִי?
from the nations: They will be slaves for you.   מֵאֵת הַגּוֹיִם: הֵם יִהְיוּ לְךָ לַעֲבָדִים (שם):
that are around you: But not from those [seven Canaanite nations] that are within the borders of your land, for indeed, regarding them, I said, “you shall not allow any soul to live” (Deut. 20:16).   אֲשֶׁר סְבִיבֹתֵיכֶם: וְלֹא שֶׁבְּתוֹךְ גְּבוּל אַרְצְכֶם, שֶׁהֲרֵי בָהֶם אָמַרְתִּי לֹא תְחַיֶּה כָּל נְשָׁמָה:
45And also from the children of the residents that live among you, from them you may acquire [slaves] and from their family that is with you whom they begot in your land, and they shall become your inheritance.   מהוְ֠גַ֠ם מִבְּנֵ֨י הַתּֽוֹשָׁבִ֜ים הַגָּרִ֤ים עִמָּכֶם֙ מֵהֶ֣ם תִּקְנ֔וּ וּמִמִּשְׁפַּחְתָּם֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר עִמָּכֶ֔ם אֲשֶׁ֥ר הוֹלִ֖ידוּ בְּאַרְצְכֶ֑ם וְהָי֥וּ לָכֶ֖ם לַֽאֲחֻזָּֽה:
And also from the children of the residents: who came from surrounding lands to marry women in your land, who subsequently bore children to them. [In these cases,] the [lineage of the] child follows the father and thus, does not fall under [the commandment of], “ you shall not allow any soul to live” (Deut. 20:16). But, you are permitted to acquire him as a slave. — [Kid. 67b]   וְגַם מִבְּנֵי הַתּֽוֹשָׁבִים: שֶׁבָּאוּ מִסְּבִיבוֹתֵיכֶם לִשָּׂא נָשִׁים בְּאַרְצְכֶם, וְיָלְדוּ לָהֶם, הַבֵּן הוֹלֵךְ אַחַר הָאָב, וְאֵינוֹ בִּכְלַל לֹא תְחַיֶּה, אֶלָּא אַתָּה מֻתָּר לִקְנוֹתוֹ כְּעֶבֶד (קידושין כ"ז):
from them you may acquire: [This might mean that we may acquire slaves by buying from their slaves. However, the true meaning is:] You may acquire them [i.e., the residents’ children, as slaves]. — [Sifthei Chachamim; Torath Kohanim 25:87]   מֵהֶם תִּקְנוּ: אוֹתָם תִּקְנוּ:
46You shall hold onto them as an inheritance for your children after you, as acquired property, and may thus have them serve you forever. But as for your brethren, the children of Israel, a man shall not work his brother with rigor.   מווְהִתְנַֽחַלְתֶּ֨ם אֹתָ֜ם לִבְנֵיכֶ֤ם אַֽחֲרֵיכֶם֙ לָרֶ֣שֶׁת אֲחֻזָּ֔ה לְעֹלָ֖ם בָּהֶ֣ם תַּֽעֲבֹ֑דוּ וּבְאַ֨חֵיכֶ֤ם בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ אִ֣ישׁ בְּאָחִ֔יו לֹֽא־תִרְדֶּ֥ה ב֖וֹ בְּפָֽרֶךְ:
You shall hold onto them as an inheritance for your children: You shall hold onto them as an inheritance for your children after you.“ But it would be incorrect to explain וְהִתְנַחַלְתֶּם אֹתָם לִבְנֵיכֶם as ”Bequeath them to your children“ [interpreting וְהִתְנַחַלְתֶּם as a causative,] for if so, then Scripture would have had to write וְהִנְחַלְתֶּם אֹתָם לִבְנֵיכֶם [Instead, Scripture writes:] וְהִתְנַחַלְתֶּם - [with the verb in the reflexive conjugation,] just like [the word] וְהִתְחַזַּקְתֶּם [and similarly, just as וְהִתְחַזַּקְתֶּם (in Num. 13:20) is an intransitive verb, so too, here, our verb וְהִתְנַחַלְתֶּם must be considered not to be causative but rather, reflexive (see preceding Rashi) and means ”You should keep them as an inheritance"]. — [Sefer Hazikkaron]   וְהִתְנַֽחַלְתֶּם אֹתָם לִבְנֵיכֶם: הַחֲזִיקוּ בָהֶם לְנַחֲלָה לְצֹרֶךְ בְּנֵיכֶם אַחֲרֵיכֶם; וְלֹא יִתָּכֵן לְפָרֵשׁ הַנְחִילוּם לִבְנֵיכֶם, שֶׁאִם כֵּן הָיָה לוֹ לִכְתֹּב "וְהִנְחַלְתֶּם" אוֹתָם לִבְנֵיכֶם, וְהִתְנַחַלְתֶּם כְּמוֹ וְהִתְחַזַּקְתֶּם:
[But as for… children of Israel,] a man [shall not work] his brother [with rigor]: [But has this prohibition regarding a Jewish servant not already been stated in verse 43 above?- [Mizrachi] It is repeated here,] to include [in the prohibition] a leader over his people and a king over his attendants, i.e., that these [rulers] must not work with rigor. — see Be’er Basadeh]   אִישׁ בְּאָחִיו: לְהָבִיא נָשִׂיא בְעַמָּיו וּמֶלֶךְ בִּמְשָׁרְתָיו שֶׁלֹּא לִרְדּוֹת בְּפָרֶךְ: