"And if the servant will say, 'I love my master, my wife and my children, I will not go free. And his master shall bring him before G-d and he shall bring him to the door or to the doorpost and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl and he shall serve him forever." (From this week's Torah portion, Mishpatim, Exodus 21:5-6)
The Torah includes a subliminal message in these verses: A Jew must be a free person. "The ear that heard G-d say at Mount Sinai, 'For the Children of Israel are My servants' and went and acquired a human master for himself - shall be pierced." (Rashi in the name of Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakai)
In the Torah, the laws of servitude are really the laws of exiting servitude. Until approximately one hundred fifty years ago, every American citizen was required by law to turn over a servant who had fled his master. Over three thousand years prior to that, the Torah already commanded, "Do not turn a slave over to his master." (Deuteronomy 23:16) This is in complete contrast to the Hammurabi and other ancient Codes, absurdly considered by some to be the "inspiration" for the Torah.
The foundation of liberty is one of the foundations that distinguishes the Torah from all the codices of other nations: economic liberty, national liberty - all forms of liberty.
Two major issues that have have focused media attention in Israel this week clearly exemplify the foundations of economic and national liberty that are so lacking in our society. This update will explore these issues further.