No non-Kohen may eat holy things; a Kohen’s resident and his hireling may not eat holy things. And if a Kohen acquires a person, an acquisition through his money, he may eat of it, and those born in his house they may eat of his food (Vayikra 22:10-11). 

The Kohanim led lives devoted to serving the Jewish people. They were our emissaries in the Temple and served as spiritual role-models for the nation of Israel. We were charged with supporting them through different types of tithes and portions. These portions were sanctified and could not be consumed by another other than the Kohen– with some significant exceptions. If a Kohen purchased a servant, the servant is permitted to eat from the same sacred items his Kohen master partakes in. The servant, having become a household member, assumes the same rights as the immediate family members. If we take a moment to reflect on this reality, we see how truly amazing it is.  As a regular Yisroel (non-Kohen) I am precluded from partaking of sacrificial or sanctified items, yet the gentile who becomes the servant of the Kohen is permitted. The Lubavitcher Rebbe (Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, 1902-1994) explains this dynamic with a profound insight. We often think of servitude in negative terms. We think of it as one person subjugating another. Servitude, the lack of complete personal autonomy, is viewed as a disservice and abuse of the other. Yet, according to the above-mentioned verse, when the individual is free, he may not partake of the Kohanic portion, and when he becomes a servant to the Kohen, he is permitted. At times, giving yourself over to something greater than yourself, frees you from your own limitations. There is elevation through servitude. 

For the children of Israel are servants to Me; they are My servants, whom I took out of the land of Egypt. I am the Lord, your God (Vayikra 25:55). 

God calls us many names, “the children of Israel,” “my son,” “my firstborn,” yet the term used most often throughout the Torah is “servant.” When the Torah eulogizes Moshe, it says: And Moses, the servant of the Lord, died there, in the land of Moab, by the mouth of the Lord (Devorim 35:55).” The great leader is not referred to as a prophet or a teacher, he is simply called a servant, an eved. When we find the strength to give ourselves over to God, we transcend our limitations. As individuals, our reach, ability, and capacity are all limited.  But when we become servants to the Infinite, all becomes possible. When a man becomes a servant to the Kohen, he gets to partake of the holy Kohanic diet; when we become servants to God, we discover the divinity within. 

Often there is a discomfort with describing oneself as a “servant” of God. It sounds like I am signing away my autonomy and freedom. The servant described in the verse may or may not have the right to choose his destiny, but we do. If I become a servant of God, it is because I choose to do so. I choose to cast my lot with my Father because I believe that when I connect myself to Him, I can discover my personal greatness. When I connect myself to him, I transcend my myopic personalistic and world view.  We spend much time running from servitude, instead of embracing it. True freedom is the ability and opportunity to become the best version of yourself. This can only occur when we tap into the resources which God provides. But like the servant who can only eat at the table of his master if he pledges himself to the services of the master, we can only grow, find our greatness and discover our limitless holiness if we become true servants to our Master Father. Servitude to God doesn’t stymie our individuality or autonomy. In fact, it is quite the opposite: only the servant is truly free.  Only the servants have the ability and tools to become the best version of themselves.