Daily Aliya for Behar-Bechukotai, Revi’i (4th Aliya)
From Chabad.org: We are commanded to treat Jewish slaves respectfully, never subjecting them to demeaning labor. The Torah prescribes the redemption process for a Jew sold into slavery to a non-Jewish master. Either the slave himself or one of his relatives refunds to the master the amount of money for the years remaining until the Jubilee — when the slave will go free even if he were not to be “redeemed.” Brief mention is made of the prohibition against idolatry, and the requirement that we observe the Shabbat and revere the Holy Sanctuary. We are promised incredible blessing if we diligently study Torah and observe the mitzvot. The blessings include plentiful food, timely rain, security, peace in the land, the elimination of wild animals from the land, and incredible military success.
Although the definition of slave isn’t what we conjure up in our minds today, the concept of working for someone full-time (as in in-house) does offer some relevant lessons for us. For one, the mandate to not work him too hard is followed by the phrase “you shall fear your G-d”, while it doesn’t include that anywhere else in this section. Rashi explains that because “too hard” is subjective, and only you know when you’re working someone needlessly or excessively, accompanying the commandment with a “watch it” statement helps focus our attention on caring for others, even those that you feel you “own” rights to.
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