Parshas Behar
Leviticus 25:1 - 26:2


Parshas Bechukosai
Leviticus 26:3 - 27:34

The Jewish Slave Class ©

By dr. Akiva G. Belk

This study of mysticism in Hebrew Gematria is dedicated in the loving memory of Mr. Gerald and Mrs. Barbara Goodman, may they rest in peace.


"For they are My servants that I brought out from the land of Mitzriam. They are not to be sold [like merchandise] as slaves in the marketplace. Do not tyrannize over him or oppress him. And you [the master] shall have fear of your G-d!" Leviticus 25:42,43

The Torah provides guidelines within which a Jewish slave owner who owns another Jewish slave shall conduct himself / herself. Notice that Hashem says, "FOR THEY ARE MY SERVANTS..." This is the first and most important guideline when directing other Yidden. We are to remember every second of every minute of every hour of every day that the Jewish servant belongs to Hashem. It was Hashem that redeemed each of us from the pits of slavery in Mitzriam. We are never to return there again. AND we are NEVER to be embarrassed or humiliated or treated in any fashion that might cause us to feel like we have returned to the conditions of Mitzriam!!

In other words, a Jew who has fallen on hard times and finds it necessary to sell himself to another Jew MUST NOT be treated as SLAVE CLASS... by another Jew E-V-E-R! The owner of a Jewish servant MUST show extreme consideration to the Jewish servant's dignity, using the utmost discreetness. The Jewish servant's prestige should NOT suffer. He should not be made to live or eat with common slaves. His self worth MUST be maintained!

Now, holy reader, why is it that I have chosen to discuss a situation that most of us will never encounter? Dear reader, it is because within Judaism we have a serious problem regarding social class. Some communities and some groups within Judaism have forgotten this basic tenet of the Torah! OTHERS DELIBERATELY IGNORE what the Torah requires. It sickens me to receive comments about how certain mitzvohs don't apply because we are living in golus, {outside Yisroel}. Dear reader, the Torah was written for a specific purpose. WE SHOULD NOT EXCUSE OURSELVES BECAUSE YOU LIVE OUTSIDE OF YISROEL!! The Torah requires us to treat all Yidden properly!

As Jews we have certain basic rights that we must DEMAND from other Jews. The underlying principle from this passage is that ALL JEWS SHOULD BE TREATED WITH DIGNITY AND RESPECT AND ENJOY SELF WORTH FROM KOL YISROEL, FROM EVERY OTHER JEW!! The point is that it is direly WRONG for rabbium to indulge in and to ignore how so many of our Jewish communities have developed a Jewish slave class within our communities!! This is putrid!! G-d please forgive us for the mistreatment of our brethren!!

Why is it that the poorer Jew who depends upon the community for assistance to educate his or her children must be relegated to a slave class? Why do we expect them to do the shlepper responsibilities of the community? I feel like saying, 'Wake up! Think about another Jew's self worth and the dignity for their family!'

So the first guideline for ALL JEWS, not just the Jewish servants, is REMEMBER, "For they are My servants.."

The second guideline is "They are not to be sold [like merchandise] as slaves in the marketplace." In other words, we must be extremely careful not to embarrass or humiliate the Jew experiencing destitution. The Torah says we MUST NOT place them on the sale block. We must not openly expose their difficult position. That means that in shul and in social gatherings of all types we are NOT to publicly expose them. HASHEM COMMANDS US TO EXERCISE SENSITIVITY!! We are NOT to say things that will in any fashion allude to their situation! That includes our actions. If we do not invite them to social events simply because of their impoverished position that is in fact by omission exposing them.

Story: How to Give A Gift
There was a fundraising committee meeting in a Jewish community at a wealthy couple's house. About eight couples gathered for the meeting. One couple arrived early. This couple's income was clearly at a much lower bracket than that of the others on the committee. The hostess beckoned the wife of this couple back to her bedroom where she insisted this woman take a sweater from the hostess' closet. The hostess assured the woman she couldn't wear it because it was too big for her. Towards the end of the meeting, the hostess mentioned the sweater to the woman she had given it to. Another woman across the room said, "Did you get something? Show us." To be polite, the woman held up the sweater for all to see. Although the others seemed to mean well, the woman's reddened cheeks spoke of her embarrassment.

The third guideline is "Do not tyrannize over him..." In other words, we MUST use caution to not command the Jew who is experiencing desperation! We MUST use kind words in directing their service. This applies to Jews who we employ. Notice that I did not state earlier in this discussion that we should treat our Jewish servants like employees. WHY?? Because some of us treat our employees like slaves, G-d forbid!! Some of us insult, humiliate, embarrass and degrade our employees, G-d forbid!! THAT IS A VILE SIN!

In other words, we must be extremely careful not to discriminate against the destitute one in a demeaning way while they are present or in their absence. Kindness should be our first thought and action for our Jewish servants, employees and family!!

Story: Showing Proper Kindness
There was a young woman who was also young in Yiddishkeit, a "young" Baal Teshuva. The state of her finances required that she get a second job beyond her normal employment. When she found out about an opening with two young rabbinical families needing help in their homes, she thought it an excellent opportunity to learn more about kashrus and Yiddishkeit in general. She interviewed for and got the position. She related this story to me. One day, a son in one of the families referred to the young woman as "the maid." The rebbetzin {rabbi's wife} quickly corrected her son, telling him the young woman was their "babysitter". The young woman related to me that this was the kind of sensitivity that was constantly displayed by the rebbetzins in both households. She said that one rebbetzin was so concerned that her assistant feel equal that she would usually sit nearby and shmooze with her just as she would with other visitors. The young Baal Teshuva was a frequent guest at both families' Shabbos tables. Obviously, both rebbetzins were very keen on showing proper kindness.

The fourth guideline is "Do not oppress him." Do not keep him down! Do not place your foot on his neck! Do not hold him back! Within certain Jewish communities this is very prevalent! We are to encourage our brethren. We are to uplift them. We are to assist them with the good things in life. If we know of a position a brother may better himself with, it is our obligation to discreetly mention it. If we can help a brother prepare for a better position we should offer to do that if it is within our ability.

The fifth guideline is "And You [the master] shall have fear of your G-d!" Holy readers, our actions will display our fear of G-d! If we in honesty observe the first four guidelines then we are without question demonstrating our fear for our G-d! However if we are among the group that has forgotten these basic tenets of the Torah or DELIBERATELY IGNORE what the Torah requires, WE ARE VILE and need to repent!

The Gematria of Cee - Ah vaw dai Haym, meaning "For they are My servants" is 161 which mystically links to the word Heh Eh law nu, meaning "brought us up." The word Heh Eh law nu is found three times in Tenach of which two occurrences are in the Torah. In all three instances Heh Eh law nu makes reference to being brought up out of the land of Mitzriam. We would simply like to note that the mystical link again reminds us that no Jew remains in the unfortunate conditions of Mitzriam. Each of us was brought up from those horrible, despicable conditions of servitude and as a result we are never to make another Jew feel like they are thrown back for any reason!

Cee - Ah vaw dai Haym {For they are My servants}
161 = Mem 40 Hey 5 - Yud 10 Dalet 4 Bais 2 Ayin 70 - Yud 10 Chof 20

Heh Eh law nu {brought us up}
161 = Vav 6 Nun 50 Lamid 30 Ayin 70 Hey 5

May Hashem bless us with the blessing of kindness and compassion towards all our fellow Jews so that no Jew will ever feel that within Judaism there exists a Jewish slave class...

Good Shabbos!

Dr. Akiva G. Belk

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