The Torah tells us that when a man is sold into slavery for stealing, his new master assumes responsibility for both the slave and his wife. This is learned from the passuk: “If he is the husband of a woman, the wife shall go out with him” (Exodus 21:3). This seems to indicate that the wife was also sold into slavery—A package deal! What did she do to deserve being placed into slavery?

It is a unique individual who would take a convicted thief into his home. This master is exposing himself to a great danger of being stolen from at all times. Aside from this fear hanging over him, the Torah demands that the master give preference to the slave in the use of household items. Why would a person take on a Jewish slave? It seems to be more sensible for this master to go to the slave market and buy a Canaanite slave. This type of slave is probably not a convicted criminal, and once purchased, he is the property of the master for the life of the slave.

I would like to suggest an answer to one of these questions which will answer all the others. The generous master who is willing to take in this Jewish slave is performing an act of chesed. He believes that every Jewish soul, if nurtured properly and exposed to a positive environment, will end up excelling in avodas Hashem. Thus, this home is not just a place of work, but rather a rehabilitation center. The desperate servant will see a home infused with love and respect for every Jew and after being exposed to such a home, with the help of Hashem, the slave will amend his ways.

So yes, this master endangered his environment. But he was willing to do this in order to rectify a broken soul.

Shlomo Hamelech tells us “chachmas nashim bonsa beisa” (the wisdom of women builds her home). When the wife of this convicted thief built their home, it was lacking in priorities. Perhaps she was lacking in the wisdom that Shlomo spoke about, and was therefore unable to prevent her husband from stealing. Therefore, this corrective facility is all-encompassing, creating a structured environment in which the wife can also excel. The Torah is confident that with this dose of proper training, the husband and wife will be able to forge forward to build a new home, modeled after the home of their ex-master.

If we take a step back and think about this, I think it is worthwhile for all of us to reconsider where our homes stand. May we all merit to be the kind of a home that can inspire others to lead a proper life.