Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A slave who fulfills the wishes of his master is as beloved as a son?

 update - added page from Artscroll Yerushalmi below
I was recently looking at the Kehati Mishna to Berachos (2:7)

The last line is the issue. A slave that faithfully serves his master is as dear to the master as his son.

My first problem is I don't know where this quote is coming from. Assuming it is valid - it offers an interesting insight into not only master slave relations - but any relationship where one party is dominant i.e., marriage or parents and children.

We know for example that Jews are described as both G-d's slaves and His children. Does obedience create the relationship of father to son. Or is that inherent and only when they are disobedient do they acquire the negative relationship of slaves?  Similarly do we say that the starting point in any marriage is love - but that is lost because of failure to fulfill the wishes of the spouse? Or  does the subservient status of a wife only turn into love by obedience?

All this has major implication - so the question is where is the Yerushalmi he quotes? It is not part of the Gra that he quotes and I could not find it in the Yerushalmi to this Mishna.

The Hebrew Kehati text is וכן אמרו בירושלמי שעבדו המשמשו כרצונו חביב עליו כבנו


The issue is discussed in the Artscroll Yerushalmi Berachos 2:8 below - in particular comments 20-21

#20 states: In the Rishonim it seems that their text of the Yerushalmi contained the phrase "From this we learn that a person's student is as beloved to him as his son and similarly his slave who serves him faithfully is like his son." see Tosfos HaRosh, Ritva found in Shita Mekubetzes, Rashba...
#21 According to Rabban Gamliel his slave Tevi is to be related to as a free man who is beloved and and as important to him as his son. ...


  1. Kehati's source is most likely this Shita Mekubetzes:


  2. See this google search result:


  3. russlevy@gmail.comMay 12, 2015 at 4:47 PM

    it is a girsa in the yerushalmi that many rishonim had
    see http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pagefeed/hebrewbooks_org_40569_90.pdf in the mekorot, also in the shita on brachot 16b (on the gemara here)

  4. The Ridvaz on the Yershulami sources the quote. It seems that the origin of this is the Rashaba (as well as the Ritva and Tosfeos HaRosh). The Ridvaz explains: The Yershalmi says that a student is as endeared to a person as his son - bringing him to accept condolences for student, just as for his son. Comparatively, a servant that serves him properly, to his wishes and desires, is as endeared as a son and servant - bringing him to accept condolences, just as for his son and servant.

  5. Asher pihem diber shavMay 12, 2015 at 5:23 PM

    פסוק מפורשת היא
    עבד משכיל ימשול בבן מביש ובתוך אחים יחלק נחלה. משלי יז:ב

  6. You ask strange questions and have a strange view on marriage...

    "relationships where one party is dominant i.e., marriage?????"

    "Subserviant status of the wife"?????

    Where do you get those from?

  7. @ Lieber I gather you never opened a gemora

  8. What does the Artscroll Yerushalmi Berachos 2:8 comments 20-21 state?

  9. wrong! More hypotheses?

  10. "Subserviant status of the wife"?????

    Where do you get those from?


  11. LOL

    Are you referring to your hypotheses, without the slightest shred of evidence?

    Rabbi Eidensohn - an experienced and well-known psychologist - is responding to your derision and referring to Jewish understandings of marriage as strange. See the difference?

  12. Actually the issue starts with the Torah

    (1) ספר בראשית פרק ג
    (טז) אֶל הָאִשָּׁה אָמַר הַרְבָּה אַרְבֶּה עִצְּבוֹנֵךְ וְהֵרֹנֵךְ בְּעֶצֶב תֵּלְדִי בָנִים וְאֶל אִישֵׁךְ תְּשׁוּקָתֵךְ וְהוּא יִמְשָׁל בָּךְ

    look at the comments to this verse such as the Ramban

    רמב"ן על בראשית פרק ג פסוק טז
    והנכון בעיני שהעניש אותה שתהיה נכספת מאד אל בעלה, ולא תחוש לצער ההריון והלידה, והוא יחזיק בה כשפחה, ואין המנהג להיות העבד משתוקק לקנות אדון לעצמו, אבל יברח ממנו ברצונו והנה זו מדה כנגד מדה, כי היא נתנה גם לאישה ויאכל במצותה, וענשה שלא תהיה היא מצוה עליו עוד, והוא יצוה עליה כל רצונו:

  13. I have not checked out the sources but imho the relationship depends on whether the servant - better word than slave ( Schottenstein chumas eved= servant maybe for eved ivri ) feels autonomous in serving his master and the master is authoritative and not authoratarian relying on his personality and relationship rather than his status position and power

  14. Thank you. I needed proof that torah and halacha is inherently conducive women's oppression and domestic abuse, and now you brought it. I am also happy to learn that this has not changed between the ramban's era and now.

    You know, there are so many apologists and spin doctors out there who will argue it is not true and bring all this baloney about diferent, but equal roles, mutual respect, he should honour her more than his body, yada yada yada.

  15. Leiber - you obviously have an agenda - and are not concerned with understanding the material as is.

    I did not mention oppression and abuse but am talking about being subordinate. Halacha is against women being oppressed and abused - even though they are subordinate.

    If you are not interested in understanding but just want to give speeches - please go elsewhere

  16. I needed proof that ...

    You "needed" it? Why? In service of what?

  17. so now, you try and doctor your spin? but you are not credible.

  18. Ms. Leiber (I am assuming that you are a female):
    There is a rule mentioned numerous times throughout the Talmud: Deracheha Darchei Noam. (It is actually a passuk). Translated, it means that the ways of the Torah are ways of pleasantness. I don't know about you, but I would consider women's oppression and domestic abuse to be unpleasant. By definition then, the Torah cannot be conducive to these things, and if you believe it to be, you an apikorus.

  19. Well, extermination of Midyanite women and boys was also unpleasant, I suppose, yet it is explicitly mandated in the torah....

    Therefore, if you were a good, torah-true jew, you would have to redefine the status of being an oppressed r beaten woman as pleasant, since it is mandated by the torah and, per definition, derachea darkei noam...

    Rambam himself says that a husband is allowed to hit his wife...

  20. @Leiber - you have all the nonsense memorized but you seem totally ignornant of the actual texts.

    1) The issue of war in the Torah is not the description of daily life. This is true for all societies. Similarly the fact that murderers are executed doesn't mean that you can kill anyone you don't like. So your logic is twisted to put it mildly

    2) Rambam does not say that a husband is allowed to hit his wife.

    As I said - you have an agenda - a nasty agenda which has no concern with scholarship or facts.

  21. You seem to believe that your scholarship makes your opinion, that the wife is or should be subserviant to the husband (in a similar way that a slave is subserviant to his master) more acceptable. It does not.

  22. @Lieber the defense of your position because you are ignornat is absurd. You have posted here under many differnt names - but the same angry personality keeps coming out And as with your other identities - this is also being blocked

  23. What other names has Leiber posted under?


please use either your real name or a pseudonym.