A question I received: You say that the Jews were always a spiritual nation and they were like this ever since their nation emerged, since the times of Abraham. And you say that everyone was equal. But what about your slaves?
My Answer: The Jews were not a nation, but a part of the Babylonians, who followed Abraham from Babylon to Canaan (Israel). This group united around the idea of “Love your neighbor as yourself.” What united them is the desire to attain this quality and thereby to become equivalent to the Creator. Equivalence of form with the Creator allows one to reveal the Creator, and this is the goal of creation.
Regarding the slaves, you should not think that the Jews’ attitude toward their slaves was anything like their treatment in other nations. It is says in the Torah (Shemot 21:26) that if a man strikes his slave, or hurts his eye or tooth, he must let him go free. There was a prohibition against tormenting the slaves. An amendment to the law (Mechiltah) specifies that if the owner inflicts any damage on the slave, the owner must let his slave go free.
In essence, a slave was a worker who did not receive payment for his work, but the owner was obligated to care for the slave in the same way he would if he were free. Moreover, other sources say that one who bought a slave bought a master. Also, see texts that speak about the owner’s responsibility to marry a female slave, etc.