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Mishpatim(Exodus 21-24)

The Seed to Succeed

In the previous Torah portion, God gave the Jews the Ten Commandments. And in this portion, the very next commandment God gives the Jewish people is:

"If you buy a Jewish bondsman, he shall work for six years; and in the seventh he shall go free..."
Exodus 21:2)


God instructs every Jew that if he has a Jewish slave working for him, then after six years he is to be set free. On the surface, it seems like when the seventh year arrives the slave would eagerly, happily, and enthusiastically run from his master's house into his new found freedom. But this just isn't how a slave feels. The reason for this is that the longer a person is under the "rule" of someone or something else, the less belief he has that he can actually make it on his own.

One of the most debilitating aspects of any form of enslavement is that it robs a person of his self-worth and self-confidence. He becomes enslaved physically, emotionally and mentally. But the fact the God commands the slave to be set free in the seventh year demonstrates an incredible and powerful seed that God plants within all of us. And that is knowing, without question, that we all have the ability to make it on our own without this master.

Whether you realize it or not, each and everyone of us are enslaved to someone or to something. Whether it's continuing to stay in at a job we dislike, in a relationship that's unhealthy, engage in destructive behaviors, or need to watch hours of television in order to escape the thoughts of the day - we all choose to be slaves.

While no one wants to be controlled, this enslavement is far better than we fear what will become of us if we chose to leave. The bottom line is that within all of us is a powerful and driving belief that questions if we really can make it on our own without this master. And although the enslavement is hard, frustrating, and painful, we don't leave because we doubt our ability to make it in un-chartered waters.

But the exact opposite is true. Whatever unhealthy situation controls a part of your life and keeps you from blossoming and becoming great, then also know that you can walk away and make it without this master. And when you do muster the strength to leave and fight the inner voice that questions your ability to succeed, then the battle is 99% won. Because when you commit to being free, you just have to hand the ball over to God and He will give you everything you need to make it.

February 18, 2006

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Visitor Comments: 17

(16) Anonymous, February 22, 2017 11:15 AM

Amen! Excellent article and very well written! Thanks for posting!

(15) Anonymous, February 2, 2016 1:03 PM

Great article! Thanks for posting!

(14) adira, February 1, 2016 5:37 AM


This was wholly enlightening. We must break off the shackles throw off the dust and arise. We have self worth and we must do what we can to encourage Torah observance

(13) jay, February 9, 2013 1:51 PM


This commentary speaks to me because I am on the cusp of going ahead. I'm 65 years old but in reality the same fears are there that younger people have. Rejection etc. I put my faith in myself but more importantly, much more, in G-d's hands.

JAY, February 14, 2015 12:27 AM



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