Under what method of employment should a Jew sustain himself? Is there a preference for self-employment over working for an employer?
I've heard that an employee is like a slave to the employer and maybe this is the source of this idea:
The Cohen Gadol's prayer:
ולא יהיו עמך ישראל צריכים פרנסה זה מזה ולא מעם אחר
Footnote 14 to Baba Metzia 10a also states:
The fact that the labourer may terminate the employment any time he likes does not imply that he does not belong to the employer.
From the above Gemoro it appears it is not good for Jews to be slaves, as stated:
For unto me the children of Israel are servants ; they are My servants (Vayikra 25:55) — but not servants to servants.
Additionally, the Shulchan Aruch states Even HaEzer 70:3:
וְיֵשׁ אוֹמְרִים עוֹד, דְּחַיָּב לְהַשְׂכִּיר עַצְמוֹ כְּפוֹעֵל וְלָזוּן אִשְׁתּוֹ
It seems the Shulchan Aruch is saying it is very negative to be an employee (i.e. the last resort if one can't provide food for his wife).
These sources appear to suggest that a Jew should be self-employed.
- Is it indeed preferable for Jews to be self-employed?
- If so, what are other sources contain these ideas?
- Does the type of employment matter?
From http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=35202&st=&pgnum=153 it seems it depends, and that if the employee can choose what hours he works he is not like a slave