Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Food and Medicine for the Slave

*** Rabbi Yochanan said (Daf Yomi: Gittin Daf 12b) : If a man cuts off the hands of his friend’s slave, he pays the loss of earnings and the doctor bills to the master, and that slave receives his food from charity.

The Gemora explains that Rabbi Yochanan is discussing a case where the master is providing food for the slave, and he is taking from charity for the extras.

Rashi explains that the slave requires additional food because of his medical condition.

The Nesivos Hamishpat writes that the additional food will speed up the recovery process. This, the slave must pay for himself. The damager is not required to pay for that.

The Chazon Ish disagrees: He states that if this additional food will be beneficial to improve his medical condition, he would not have to pay for it himself; it would be included in the doctor bills. Rather, the Gemora is discussing the delicacies which are given to a sick person in order to cheer him up. This is not included in the medical bills.

*** The Gemora concludes that the master can say to the slave, “Work for me, but I will not sustain you.”

Reb Yechezkel Abramsky explains that the master is not completely exempt from sustaining the slave when he is working for him. The master has the right to tell him that he should worry himself with regards to his food. This is why Tosfos says that during a famine year, where people will not have pity on the slave and he will not be able to find food, the master is obligated to feed him, and if he doesn’t, the slave can demand his freedom.