Mishpatim. Choosing Slavery! - The Burden of Freedom.
Ironically, our parsha opens with the laws of a Jewish slave. Ironic because Israel have just been freed from slavery in Egypt, and the Torah is already addressing a time in which they own slaves of their own!
It is on this backdrop that we read:
When you acquire a Hebrew slave, he shall serve six years; in the seventh year he shall go free, without payment…
If the slave declares, “I love my master, and my wife and children: I do not wish to go free,” his master shall take him before God. He shall be brought to the door or the doorpost, and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl … (21:1-5)
"In the seventh year he shall go free" - This suggests that every Hebrew man and woman should WANT to be free.
And yet, If they CHOOSE servitude, their ear is pierced and they remain enslaved.
The servant is quoted as saying: "I love my master". This slave prefers slavery!
Who would CHOOSE servitude over freedom?