Maimonides ~ Moses ben Maimon (1138–1204) ~ wrote in Egypt, under Muslim rule. Islam, like Judaism, legislates about slavery without abolishing it. Maimonides most probably had slaves himself, even tough this is not established.
~ Why do we have the mitzvah of redeeming a Jewish slave from the hands of a non-Jew?
~ Why can't the court sell the Jewish slave like the rest of slaves, in the market?
~ How does Maimonides define "befarech" or "ruthlessly"?
~ This is just a little sample of Maimonides rulings. 9:8 is the last paragraph of the section dealing with slaves. What do you think of it? What does it indicate about Maimonides's character and what does he believe about being Jewish?
The Sefer HaChinuch was written in Spain in the 13th century, probably under Christian rule or during the disputes between Christians and Muslims for Spain. Its authorship is disputed. The book discusses each of the 613 commandments as they appear in the Torah, both from a legal and a moral perspective. For each, the Chinuch's discussion starts by linking the mitzvah to its Biblical source, and then addresses the philosophical underpinnings of the commandment (termed the "shoresh", or "root"). Following this, the Chinuch presents a brief overview of the practical Jewish law governing its observance and closes with a summary as to the commandment's applicability.
~ What are the roots of the mitzvot regarding the Jewish slave? Why are all those rules there?
~ Why do we have the rules regarding the Hebrew maidservant?
~ What is the right thing to do? How does the Sefer HaChinuch understand the selling of the daughter? Is that apparent in the original text of the Torah?
~ Why should a master let the Hebrew maidservant be redeemed?
~ How is the Sefer HaChinuch defending the death penalty for the one who killed his slave?
~ How does the Sefer HaChinuch explain the fact that the slave sold himself? What warning does it give to the reader?