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Working for Marriage

By Rabbi Berach Steinfeld

Posted on 11/24/20

Parshas HaShavua Divrei Torah sponsored by
Dr. Shapsy Tajerstein, DPM - Podiatry Care.
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In Bereishis 29:18 it says that Yaakov loved Rachel and proposed that he work for seven years to be able to marry her. The Rema in Choshen Mishpat Hilchos Sechiras Poalim 333:3 quotes the Mordechai based on the Gemara in Bava Metziya 10a that a worker has a right to quit in middle of the day because the Torah in Vayikra 25 tells us that we are servants to Hashem and to no one else. Based on the above ruling it is forbidden for a rebbe or a scribe to work and live in the house of a Baal Habayis for three years. The Even Ezra in Devarim 15:18 says that we find a posuk in Yeshaya 16 that says three years is the amount one is a “sachir: (a hired worker.) Now we have a question as to how Yaakov was able to hire himself to Lavan for seven years? 


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The first tirutz to explain this is based on Tosfos in Bava Metziya 10a s.v. Ki Li that a person may hire himself out so long as he is not an eved ivri. An eved cannot just walk out in middle of the job, but since a sachir can stop and quit at any given time, this would not be a problem. 


A second tirutz is based on the Shach in Choshen Mishpat 333:16 that says that the issur of a person being hired for more than three years is only when he has money or parnassah from another source. Since Yaakov had all his money taken by Elifaz he was permitted to work for Lavan for more than three years. A proof to this would be from the Rambam in the beginning of Hilchos Avadim that if a person has no money he can even sell himself as a slave. 


A third tirutz is based on the Shailos Utshuvos Chavos Yair 140 who was asked about a Chazzan who had a six-year contract and wanted to stop working as a Chazan. His excuse was that one is not allowed to work for more than three years. The Chavos Yair said that it would not apply to a dvar mitzvahYaakov’s objective was to get married which is a dvar mitzvah so it would be permissible. 


A fourth tirutz is based on the Pardes Yosef that says one would be allowed to hire himself out for more than three years in order to marry. The proof is seen in the above Shach in the second tirutz that if one has no money he may sell himself as a slave. We know that in order to get married one may sell a sefer Torah, so of course one would be able to hire himself out as a worker for more than three years. 


A fifth tirutz is based on the Shailos Utshuvos Betzeil Hachochma vol 2 87:2 that says the issur of hiring oneself out for more than three years is only if there is no break. However, if the person gets vacation time, it would not be a problem. It stands to reason that Yaakov got some off days so he could serve Hashem


A sixth and final tirutz is based on the Sefer Chochma Vodaas from Reb Moshe Shternbuch that says the issur of hiring oneself out for more than three years is only if one is paid money. In this case, it was not for money, therefore it is allowed. 


May we be zocheh to get shidduchim for all those in the need!   


Do you have a topic or discussion you want to read about? Please send comments or questions to hymanbsdhevens@gmail.com or berachsteinfeldscorner@gmail.com