The eved ivri (Jewish slave) was a rare occurrence during the Temple era and is certainly not relevant today. Why then is it discussed first in this parsha?
Chassidut teaches that space consists of six sides, namely: up, down, left, right, front, and back. There is an epicenter within this three dimensional cube, which is the seventh point. This parallels the human experience. Most of our life encounters touch us externally. However there are certain experiences that are so profound that they affect our inner core. This, the Avnei Nezer explains, is why the eved ivri works six years and goes free in the seventh year. The eved ivri is a common criminal or at best a social outcast, sold into slavery to repay his debts. He is bound to serve his master six years, signifying the six external points of his life that have experienced a terrible breakdown.
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