[b-hebrew] Genesis 12: 5: Are "Souls" Slaves?

Shoshanna Walker rosewalk at concentric.net
Sat Nov 17 21:07:49 EST 2007

Stone Chumash:

"The souls refer to those whom they had converted to faith in Hashem, 
for Abraham  converted the men and Sarah converted the women. 
According to the SIMPLE meaning, however, it refers to the servants 
they had acquired (Rashi) [note- "servants" not "slaves" - 
MISSION  (Radak)"

See, Yigaal, you don't tell us the whole story.

Moreover, HOW in the world would a human being (Avraham and Sarah) be 
able to CREATE ("asher asu" - ie' Avraham and Sarah, plural) a 
Nefesh, ie; a spiritual aspect of a person????  Because the Torah 
specifically states that they made a SPIRITUAL being, this must mean 
spiritual ELEVATION of a human being, ie; conversion to knowledge and 
worship of G-d.

Also, why is Nefesh singular?


Actually, Shoshanna, Saadiah Gaon, Rashi, Ibn Ezra and Radak all interpret
it as meaning slaves, either before or after metioning that they could also
be people who they had "converted".

Yigal Levin

----- Original Message -----
From: "Shoshanna Walker" <rosewalk at concentric.net>
To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Sunday, November 18, 2007 1:03 AM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Genesis 12: 5: Are "Souls" Slaves?

> It is the consensus (unanimous as far as I know) among Chazal, that
> these refer to the people who he "converted" to the knowledge of G-d.
> It is beyond belief that this could be construed as slaves.
> Shoshanna
>>Genesis 12: 5 tells us that certain people came with  Abraham and Lot from
>>Harran to Canaan, who almost certainly were not members of  the
>>immediate family
>>of Abraham or Lot:  "the souls that they had gotten in Haran".  Are these
>>people "slaves", who had been  "bought" by Abraham and Lot in Harran?  Or,
>>rather, are these people distant relatives of Abraham's father,
>>whose  families were
>>the social equals of Abraham's father's family, and who were on a  long
>>caravan trip out to Mesopotamia with Abraham's father's family as
>>security  guards?
>>Here is the JPS1917 translation of Genesis 12:  5:
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