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. ...

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