If a slave had converted prior to being acquired, do they also get released on Shmita and the Jubilee year?

  • 2
    I'm confused - if the slave converted prior to becoming somebody's slave, doesn't that mean that they're a Jewish slave and subject to the same laws as other Jewish slaves? Why would they be different?
    – Shimon bM
    Dec 21, 2016 at 0:47
  • 1
    @ShimonbM As far as I understand it, the rules for first generation converts and Jews are not 1 to 1. Especially in the days when slavery was still around. Dec 21, 2016 at 0:49
  • why not immediately? e. g. a woman who was slave and is older than 12.5 years... and every case...
    – kouty
    Dec 21, 2016 at 1:39
  • @kouty A גיורת cannot be sold. A girl can only be sold by her father, and a convert has no father. A woman is not sold because of inability to repay a theft or out of poverty.
    – Menachem
    Dec 21, 2016 at 2:20
  • @Menachem right! I forgot this. Anyway I wanted to say that the transformation of the knaany slave to Jew is through freedom only. But now I have read again the question. The question is : The adon subitely discovered that his knaany slave was already converted to Judaism. E. G. He takes a NJ by kinyan chazaka and discovered that the slave was not a NJ.
    – kouty
    Dec 21, 2016 at 4:55

2 Answers 2


A convert cannot be bought (Rambam, Avadim 1:2), so this question is invalid.

A convert may not sell himself as a servant. This is derived from Leviticus 25:41: "And he shall return to his family" - i.e., it is speaking about someone who has a family within the Jewish faith.

  • You are absolutely correct. I will modify my answer.
    – Menachem
    Jan 23, 2018 at 0:53

(Edited) A non-Jew who converts normally (not a גרות לשם עבדות, a conversion for the sake of slavery) cannot be sold as an עבד עברי, as pointed out in this answer. He can neither be sold for theft, nor can he sell himself out of poverty. The question is thus moot.

(The differences between a גר צדק and a born Jew are minute. The only other difference that comes to mind is the limitation on serving on a Beis Din (that adjudicates capital cases) and some similar שררא restrictions, like being appointed king.)

There is a special form of conversion that is required for עבדים כנענים, when a non-Jew is acquired as a slave, whereupon he becomes a Canaanite slave, and remains with his new master until explicitly freed. The exact laws are discussed by the Rambam in Laws of Slaves (Avadim 8:12, for one location). This is the normal way Canaanite slaves become that way.

  • the question was not on shichrur eved knaany?
    – kouty
    Dec 21, 2016 at 1:55
  • "Converted prior to being acquired" was somewhat ambiguous; I couldn't tell whether he was was asking about conversion while being acquired (in which case he is asking about שחרור עבד כנעני) or normal conversion, then be sold as an עבד עברי.
    – Menachem
    Dec 21, 2016 at 2:16
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    Please see the other answer. I haven’t yet looked into its accuracy, but, if it’s correct, you may want to edit out the first paragraph of this answer.
    – msh210
    Jan 19, 2018 at 5:27

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