The Talmud now proposes reading the verse as a case of a general statement followed by a specific one. In such a case, the rule applies only to the specific examples—only the tooth and eye.
The Talmud now reads the verses as a sequence of general, followed by particular, followed by another general statement. In such a case, the law applies to things like the specific example. In this case, the slave goes free when he loses limbs that are like eyes and teeth—noticeable and they do not return.
Eyes and teeth when put out cease to function. So why then does slave go free if the master dislocates his jaw. This is not a total loss of function. It is not like the eye or tooth.
The verse “he shall let him go free” is read as including another way of the slave going free—in this case for the dislocated jaw. But now that we read this as an inclusion, we have to ask why temporary wounds, such as temporarily causing the hand to wither, do not also cause the slave to go free.
The answer is that including all such injuries would render the examples of “eye and tooth” meaningless. Thus we need to negotiate between the limitations of “eye and tooth” and inclusion of something else. For a dislocated jaw, the slave goes free, but not for a temporarily hurt hand.
The Talmud discusses whether a slave going free because his master put out one of his limbs requires a deed of emancipation
This baraita contains a dispute over whether the slave being emancipated because his master put out his eye, tooth or other major limb, needs a deed of emancipation. The number of sages who participate is somewhat unusual. In the end, a compromise seems to have been reached. Since tooth and eye are mentioned explicitly in the Torah, the slave does not need a deed of emancipation. But for the other limbs, which are only derived through a midrash, he does.
The Talmud explains the midrashic origins of the dispute. The word “sending” is used both in the context of the slave and in the context of a woman being divorced. According to R. Shimon, just as a woman being divorced needs a document, so too a slave going free always needs a document.
R. Meir uses the order of the words in the verse to posit that he does not. The phrase begins with “to freedom” and therefore R. Meir holds that the slave is free right away, even without a deed.
The sugya continues to deal with setting a slave free because his master struck him and caused loss of limb.
For the slave to go free, the blow must be on the eye or ear. If the master strikes something and doing so makes a loud noise which causes the slave to become so afraid he goes blind or deaf, the slave does not go free. (I do not know how it is possible to cause blindness by making a loud noise. This is how Rashi interprets the statement, probably because Rashi cannot imagine that if a master actually strike’s the slave’s body, and the slave goes blind or deaf, the slave would not go free. Furthermore, this is how the Talmud seems to interpret below. However, a source referred to below refers only to deafness, which makes more sense).
The above tradition does not seem to consider making a noise that causes damage equivalent to physically doing the damage onto the damaged object. But R. Shemen quotes two amoraic statements that refer to animals that cause damage by making noise and in both of them, makes the person liable. Thus making a loud noise does cause liability. This seems to be a contradiction.
R. Ashi explains that the case of a noise damaging an object is different from the case of a person being damaged. A person is intelligent, and to a certain extent, brings this damage on himself by being frightened. This is proven by a case of a person who makes a loud noise and thereby deafens another. He is not liable unless he physically seizes the other person.
More baraitot about when a slave goes free if his master puts out his eye or tooth.
Both of these baraitot essentially say the same thing. If the eye or tooth does not work, it counts as having been put out. If it was previously not working and the master puts it fully out, then this does not count as being put out. The test is whether the eye or tooth works.
If I only had the first baraita, I might say that if the master severely weakens his eyesight or tooth, so much so that he cannot use them, he goes free. But if the eye is already weak and he puts it out, he does not go free because it was already weak. Therefore we need the second baraita.
If we only had the second baraita, I would think that the slave never goes free unless he is completely blinded. Therefore, we need the first baraita to teach that as long as the slave cannot use his eye or tooth, he goes free, even if he is not completely blind.
To the rabbis, if the master puts out the slave’s eye or tooth he goes free, even if the master did not intend to do so. But R. Shimon b. Gamaliel says he must intend to put it out.
The rabbis use the phrase “and he destroys it” to exempt a master who accidentally blinds a fetus while trying to help his maidservant deliver her baby. In this case, he did not intend to do anything to an eye at all. However, if he intended to perform an operation on the eye and he accidentally put it out, the slave does go free, because he intended to do something to the eye.
R. Elazar derives this other halakhah from the word “it” at the end of the verb. This “extra” word allows him to derive both halakhot.
The other rabbis do not derive any meaning from this extra word. This allows this midrashic discussion to end.
Some amoraic laws concerning putting out the slave’s eye.
According to R. Sheshet, even if the eye is already blind, if the master removes it, the slave goes free.
A baraita supports R. Sheshet. According to this baraita, while bird sacrifices need not be fully unblemished (as do animals) they cannot have their eyes plucked out. This supports the idea that if the slave’s eye is plucked out, it is a serious enough offense that he goes free, even if he could not see before.
If the master cuts off the slave’s extra finger, the slave still goes free, as long as it is on his hand. If it is protruding from elsewhere, it does not count as a finger.