Sunday, April 10, 2016

Why do we need slavery? Why Torah allows slavery?

Here is an interesting question: Why do we need slavery? Why Written Torah allows us to have slaves? Isn't it anti-life and anti-reason?

The answer is NO. Slavery is, unfortunately, a very important part of society. It is impossible to have a stable society and stable economy without slaves. You are welcome to run any basic economic simulation to see it with your own eyes. This is a matter of mathematics and reason. Any reasonable person would agree with this statement.

First of all, I want to point out that Written Torah does not talk about American type of slavery. What Written Torah preaches is very different from what was done to African-American slaves in the United States. Torah never commands to humiliate or abuse a slave. In fact, slaves have many rights in the Torah that they are entitled to.

Secondly, slavery is a human condition, it is like alcohol, an unavoidable evil if you will. It is impossible not to have slavery because some people will do it anyway. This is why slavery should be legal because it would bring it out of the criminal domain and help both slaves and society. Prohibition never solved anyone. Even God had to learn it the hard way ;)

Now, let's take a look at some of the laws that Written Torah provides:
  1. Genesis 24:2 Anraham's slaves were so great that they were pretty much in charge of the entire household. Abraham had very close, very trusting and intimate relationship with his slave.
  2. Exodus 20:2. Yahuah God is God of the former slaves. This is why we are reminded about our servitude right in the first commandment. Slave are entitled to believe in One God. 
  3. Exodus 20:10 Slaves are entitled to a day of rest (Shabbat) just like free men.
  4. Exodus 12:44 Slaves are entitled to observe Passover just like free men, once they have been circumcised.
  5. Exodus 21:1-11 Slavery was temporary and would last only 7 years at the most for Hebrew slaves. Slaves were entitled to have a family and/or full coverage of housing, food and other expenses. Hebrews slaves could not be sold to outsiders.
  6. Exodus 21:20 Slaves are people and there was blood-guilt for killing a slave. 
  7. Exodus 21:26 In some cases, slave could've been freed for his injury from his master. So we were commanded to treat slaves with great respect.
  8. Leviticus 25:42 We were slaves so we are to treat our slaves like God treated us when He liberated us from Mizraim.
  9. Deut 15:12-18 Slaves were actually punished for refusing their freedom. This is opposite of American slavery.
  10. Deut 23:15-16 Slaves could not be given out of asylum. If a slave ran away from his master, he could seek refuge with someone else and that person could not give him back to his owner. This is a great example where Torah is different on slavery and very contrary to the American slavery, when they would give up run-away slaves.
There are many more verses that deal with slavery, both male and female. So as you can see, Torah does not say anything bad and does not really preach American-type of slavery. What Torah preaches is not really slavery but a form of employment or servitude. However, even if it still seem too inhumane, you have to remember that without slaves it is impossible to have stable society and healthy economy.

And Written Torah does NOT say a word about color of the skin. So slavery based on that is prohibited according to the Torah.

A person who works for minimum wage in a McDonalds is most certainly a slave. How is it different from what Torah proposes? Torah actually preaches much better conditions for slaves than some "free" people can ever have on their own here in US. Some people would be actually very happy to be slaves according to the Torah laws.

This is why slavery, Torah-based slavery of course, is absolutely normal and there is nothing bad or immoral about it.

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