Tuesday, October 28, 2008

עבד עבדים יהיה לאחיו - מקורות

1 - Essays and speeches on the eve of the civil war - Pro - R. Raphall , R. Illowy, Anti - M. Heilprin, Dr. Einhorn.

2 - Einhorn's article is particularly well argued. Regarding this point:

Only on one point has Dr. Raphall shown a friendly disposition towards the negro; at the expense of his holiest duty, he has failed to call to the attention of the Jewish slave-holders that they must have their slaves circumcised.

I have heard of (but not seen - nor can I find) a Teshuva to the Noda B' Yehuda [?] sent by a Jewish slave-owner in the south. I believe the NY paskened like Dr. Einhorn that circumcision is required. The end of the story is that the slaves heard of this plan and revolted. See also J. Schorsch "Jews and Blacks in the early modern world".

3 - R' Yaakov Kamenetzky said (in a lecture) that the בני כנען also have a צלם אלהים and it is therefore absolutely forbidden to embarass or discriminate against them in any way.

9 comments:

Fotheringay-Phipps said...

In general, people tend to read their own bigotry into their religion.

An example is the notion that the color of African skin is related to the curse on Canaan. I don't think there is any source that says this, and in any event, Kush was Canaan's brother. (Intertestingly the Gra on Mishnayos - Nega'im 2:1 - discusses racial skin color and says - surprise, surprise - that it is based on exposure to the sun.)

wolf2191 said...

"don't think there is any source that says this"

Try Midrash Rabbah on this passuk.

Fotheringay-Phipps said...

Point taken.

Still, that medrash seems to refer to Chom generally and not Kush, who is not of special significance in that incident, and is nowhere mentioned. So it would suggest that Chom's descendents generally tended to be darker, not Africans specifically.

Fotheringay-Phipps said...

Point taken.

Still, that medrash seems to refer to Chom generally and not Kush, who is not of special significance in that incident, and is nowhere mentioned. So it would suggest that Chom's descendents generally tended to be darker, not Africans specifically.

wolf2191 said...

Let us herewith merely quote Bunsen in his famous work on the Bible in connection with this passage: "What appears in this and the following verse as a preliminary, short account of the generation of Noah is the preface to an old family—tradition about the lack of reverence and the exorbitant want of it on the part of the descendants of Ham with reference to Canaan. Those who on the strength of this extenuate the traffic of slavery betray gross ignorance as well as an unbiblical conception. For if we consider the inhabitants of Canaan according to their descent, nationally they would be classed as Semites closely related to the other Semites, especially to the immigrant Hebrews from Aram. Canaan signifies son of Ham i.e., Egypt: for he is looked upon as having emigrated from lower Egypt to Palestine. The negroes however are descended neither from Canaan nor Ham, but in accordance with the language in the torrid zone are scattered, original Semites or Turanians (East-Japhetites). Ham (Hebrew Cham) signifies the Egyptians, their country in 'Egyptian language is called Chami, the black (dark, black, sod) land."

Lion of Zion said...

have you seen the relevant chapter in korn's "American jewry and the civil war"?

where did you hear the NY story?

ברית יצחק (amsterdam, 1768) has sections for anusim, converts, slaves, etc.
i assume this sections for converts and slaves was intended for the caribbean. how many jews in europe could own slaves and how common was conversion in europe? (my suspicion also stemmed from the fact that the list of mohalim contains names of those in the new world)

Wolf2191 said...

I didn't know of Korn's book. I'll have to find it.

I heard it from a neighbour (who is a 7th generation American). Perhaps it was some other Rov not the NY since there is certainly no trace of this in his teshuvos.

Check Schorsch's book, it souds like there were some slaves in Europe.

Anonymous said...

On the idea of Ham being black and its role in the discourse over African slavery, see Winthrop Jordan, Black over White.

Anonymous said...

On the issue of circumcision, while I don't have any sources handy it is pretty well-known that in teh times of the Rishonim slaves owned by Jews (from E. Europe) were circumcised.

 
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