We see in Sefer Bereishit that God prophesied to Avraham that his descendants will be slaves for 400 years. Then, as God has predicted we learn that the Jews are enslaved in Egypt. Finally God sends Moshe to redeem them. Instead of making redemption of the jews easy, he continues to harden Paro's heart and punishes the Egyptians with sever plagues--each more horrible than the previous one. And for what? So that the jews can serve him ("כֹּה אָמַר יְהֹוָה שַׁלַּח אֶת עַמִּי וְיַעַבְדֻנִי", Shemot chapter 7, verse 26).

God was the one who decreed slavery; God was the one who hardened Paro's heart.

Is God a bully?

  • 2
    I like the underlying question, but the way it's written bothers me. Can you rephrase it?
    – Seth J
    Jul 19, 2013 at 13:48
  • Is you question is G-d a bully or is it Why were we enslaved?
    – Bochur613
    Jul 19, 2013 at 15:13
  • I agree with the previous two commenters. Also, I don't understand why you brought in "And for what? So that the [J]ews can serve him ("כעבדני").": how is that relevant to your question? Also, where on earth did you get the quotation "כעבדני" from?
    – msh210
    Jul 19, 2013 at 15:21
  • @Bochur613, Enforcing slavery is a character-trait of a bully...
    – Ani Yodea
    Jul 19, 2013 at 19:10
  • @msh210, כֹּה אָמַר יְהֹוָה שַׁלַּח אֶת עַמִּי וְיַעַבְדֻנִי , Shemot chapter 7, verse 26 chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/showrashi/false/aid/9868/jewish/…. I wasn't able to find any relevant Rashi on that verse.
    – Ani Yodea
    Jul 19, 2013 at 19:26

1 Answer 1


the slavery had many reasons. one of them is so that they would be able to become slaves of God. which in truth is the real freedom.

True freedom does not mean doing whatever you want. True freedom means doing what you really want to do! What a person really wants to do, is to be good - to become more G-dly. However, the yetzer hara (inclination towards evil) fights to prevent a person from doing this. By G-d's commanding a person to be good, he has a fighting chance to reach his goal. So the yoke of torah and mitzvos, athough it may seem restricting is actually the path towards true freedom, since it forces one to do what he deep down really wants to do.

from: http://dafyomireview.com/article.php?docid=305

Hence, the slavery was for the Jews' benefit. Without it they would not be able to fulfill the torah and would remain enslaved to the evil inclination.


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