Control Freaks

In connection with the notion that man without laws will either be a pleasure or power seeker, we came across a special Halacha in connection with the Hebrew slave, עבד עברי.

The עבד עברי either sold himself into slavery because of intense poverty or was sold by the court because he was a thief. The Rambam explains that the law is that the Jewish master must not give the Hebrew slave menial, unnecessary tasks to do.

It seems that the motivation of the master to order such tasks is to make him feel empowered in that the slave has to do anything he is asked to do, even if it is a ridiculous request. The Torah is trying to steer a person away from seeking power and belittling another person.

In other words, included in this prohibition (my personal input) would be to refrain from being a “control freak.” These control freak relationships can be so damaging. Most likely such individuals get some kind of feeling of importance by dominating another person. This applies in family settings, in the workplace, and even in religion.

We learn from this case of עבד עברי that every person must be treated with dignity and respect regardless of the gaps in social standing. The control freaks must be stopped!