Are all/any the halachos of slavery still in effect today? For example:

  1. If a destitute Jewish person stole and did not have the money to repay, could a modern beis did sell him/her as a slave?
  2. If a person wanted to sell himself as a slave would someone (living in America, for example) be allowed to buy him if it goes against the laws of the land?
  3. If "Reuven" purchased a non-Jewish slave and then freed him would that slave need to go through the conversion process?

slightly related

  • 5
    – Double AA
    Feb 26, 2012 at 17:42
  • 1
    re: #2 No, Dinah D'malchus, Dinah.
    – HodofHod
    Feb 26, 2012 at 17:43
  • @HodofHod But I bet the kinyan would be chal if he did it anyway.
    – Double AA
    Feb 26, 2012 at 17:46
  • @HodofHod it should still be chal just like buying anything else that is "illegal", no?
    – none
    Feb 26, 2012 at 17:47
  • 1
    @Moshe you did say: "be allowed to buy him", which is not the same as "will the kinyan take effect?".
    – HodofHod
    Feb 26, 2012 at 18:08

1 Answer 1


On #1: the Gemara (Erchin 29a) states, and Rambam (Hil. Avadim 1:10) cites it as halachah, that the rules of a Jewish slave apply only when the Yovel is in effect (i.e., when most Jews live in their designated tribal territories in Eretz Yisrael, a state of affairs that hasn't existed since the end of the First Temple era and almost certainly won't exist again until Moshiach's times).

(Shem Yosef to Rambam there cites and discusses the opinion of Ritva, though, that the basic law is still in effect in the sense that a Jew sold as a slave would need a formal document of emancipation (get shichrur). However, this seems to be limited to a case where the person sells himself - Ritva writes that יכול הוא למכור עצמו לעכו"ם או לישראל - but not that beis din can do so.)


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