Mishpatim: Chapter 8

Redeeming a Hebrew servant


This section tells us that we must strive to serve our Master to become His servant. A person who toils in Torah in order to merit the World to Come is called 'an acquisition,' as in "when you acquire a Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve." After the acquisition, he will achieve redemption. Rabbi Shimon speaks of the Sh'ma reading, and says that the cantor can fulfill a man's obligation for one who is incapable of praying. The six years correspond to the three initial and the three concluding blessings of the Amidah prayer. Rabbi Shimon closes by saying that in the World to Come one will not be able to find redemption through another, "If I am not for myself, who is for me?"