Click here for audio

פרק א משנה ב
עבד עברי A Jewish bondman
נקנה בכסף ובשטר is acquired with money or a document
וקונה את עצמו and acquires himself [out of servitude]
בשנים with [the the passage of] years [allotted for his servitude]
וביובל or Yovel
ובגרעון כסף or the deduction of money (i.e. payment of an amount equal to the price he was sold for, less an amount in proportion to the time he had already served);
יתרה עליו אמה עבריה greater than him is the Jewish bondwoman,
שקונה את עצמה as she [also] acquires herself
בסימנין with signs [of being a naarah].
הנרצע One who has been pierced [in the ear]
נקנה ברציעה is acquired with the piercing [of his ear]
וקונה את עצמו and acquires himself
ביובל ובמיתת אדון with Yovel or the death of his master.
פרק א משנה ג
עבד כנעני נקנה A gentile slave is acquired
בכסף ובשטר ובחזקה with money, a document or by an act of possession [over him],
וקונה את עצמו and he acquires himself
בכסף על ידי אחרים with money, through others (who buy his freedom),
ובשטר על ידי עצמו and by a document, on his own,
דברי רבי מאיר these are the words of Rabbi Meir.
וחכמים אומרים And the Sages say
אף בכסף על ידי עצמו even with money on his own
ובשטר על ידי אחרים and by a document through others,
ובלבד so long
שיהא הכסף משל אחרים as the money comes from others.


משנה ב

בסימנין - When a girl has two pubic hairs and is above the age of 12, she is deemed a נערה; an אמה עבריה who reaches this stage goes free.

הנרצע - When a man is sold by a בית דין, and opts not to go free at the end of his six-year term, he must have his ear drilled at a doorpost with a metal implement by his master.

משנה ג

ובחזקה - This would be by making the slave perform a task for the prospective master that is normally done by a slave, such as tying or untying his footwear, carrying his clothes behind him a a bathhouse, washing him, or dressing or undressing the master.

בכסף על ידי אחרים - It must be through others, as he cannot come into possession of money himself - anything he acquires belongs to his master.

ובשטר על ידי עצמו - According to ר"מ, for an עבד freedom is not to his benefit (as he is no longer permitted to a שפחה כנענית and if his master is a כהן he can no longer eat תרומה), and so others cannot take possession of the document for him, as אין חבין לאדם אלא בפניו.  However money is treated differently, as that is not dependant on others being זוכה on his behalf, but rather operates by his master being קונה the money.  According to this, a third party can acquire the freedom of an עבד by accepting the document on his behalf with his prior consent.

וחכמים אומרים - They differ from ר"מ on two points, first they hold that an עבד can be קונה something without it becoming his master's, and second, they hold that שחרור is to his benefit.  Thus, they hold that an עבד can come into possession of money with which he can free himself, and that third parties can accept his emancipation papers on his behalf.

ובלבד שיהא הכסף משל אחרים - And the third parties that provide this money must stipulate that it is for him and not his master.  Otherwise, it is his master's, like anything else he acquires.


Click here for the hebrew/english for פרק א from