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02/01/2013

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D in aD e 'm a lc h u s a D in a
Rabbi H ershel Schachter
"D in a D e'm alchusa D ina":
S e c u la rL a wA s a R e lig io u s O b lig a tio n
N o rm ativ e
J u d a is m
is
c o n c e r n e d
n o t o n ly
w ith
re lig io u s
ritu a l;
a
m a jo r
a r e a
of concern
is
th e
re la tio n s h ip
o f
th e
in \ue000
d iv id u a l
1 0
the society
in
w h ic h
h e
liv e s , a n d
t oo th e rsin
th a t
p o lity . A
fa m ilia r e x e m p lific a tio no fth is p rin c ip leis e v id e n t in
th e
T en
C om m andm ents,
w h e re in
th e
f i r s t
fiv e
s p e a k
o f
th e
m an -G -d
re la tio n s h ip , a n d
th es e c o n d
ta b le t te a c h
th e
p r o p e r
a ttitu d e s
i n
th e
m an-m an
re la tio n s h ip .
W hen
the Jew ish
p e o p le
liv e d
in
th e irow n
p o litic a l a n d
s o c ia l m ilie u ,
th e
laws of
th e
T o ra h
g o v e r n e d
th e ire n v iro n \ue000
m e n t.
H o w e v e r , in
th e c e n tu rie so fo u r D ia s p o ra .o n eo f
th e
m ost
d iffic u lt
a r e a s
o f
a d ju s tm e n t
h a s
b e e n
i n
fin d in g
th e
proper m odeo fa c c o m m o d a tin g
the rules of a secularo r C hris\ue000
tia n
s o c ie ty
t o
a Torah
w e lta l1 s c h a u w lg .
T he
T o ra h -tru e
J e w
d o e s n o t lo s e
sight of Torah
id e a ls , e v e n
w h ile s u b je c t to
th e
d is c ip lin eo fa n o th e rsystem .T he
to p ic w h ic h
w e

w ill d i s c u s s h e re in ,istow hat e x te n t th e la w so fth e T o ra h a re s u p e r s e d e d o r ig n o re d

o ra d a p te d -o rp e r h a p s'lo ts u p e r s e d e d o rig n o re d \ue000
b y
th e re a litie so f e x is te n c e
in
a n o n -T o ra h
fram ew ork.
So, for exam ple,w eh a v e to c o n s id e r th e c o m m ille d J e w in
his role
as A m erican
c itiz e n ,
tax-payer, businessm an.
p ro fe s-
P rofessoro f Talm ud
Y e s h iv a
U n iv e r s ity
1 0 3
1 0 4
The Journal of H alacha
s ia na !.
T o
w hat
e x te n t
d o e s
b e in g
a
" g o o d
Jew "
re q u ire
a
person also
t ob ea" g o o dA m erican"?H ow
a b o u tc u ttin g c o r\ue000
ners on
o n e 'sin c o m eta x -isit p ro h ib ite db y
th e re lig io n ? D o
A m erican
cerem onieso fm arriag ea n d
d iv o rc eh a v ev a lid ity
i n
th e
e y e s
o f
h a la c h a ?
S h o u ld
tw o
Jew s
w ho
e n te r a
b u s in e s s
p a rtn e rs h ip
b e
g u id e d
b y
A m erican
la w
o rb y
th e
S h u lc h a n
A ru c h -o r
b o th ?
W hati fth e re
is a conflict?
T he
basis of any
a c c o m m o d a tio n
o fT o ra h
p rin c ip le s
to
s e c u la r
la w
lie s
in
th e
T a lm u d ic
d ic tu m ,"D ina
d e 'm a lc h u s a

d in a " .In several places, theG em araq u o te s ' thep rin c ip leo f the te a c h e rS h m u e l,th a t th e la w so f th egovernm ent a reb in d in go n Jew s,e v e n

w hen
th e y
d iffe rfro m
th e
laws of the Torah.T he

m a in a p p lic a tio no f th is p rin c ip leis th e c o lle c tio no f ta x e s .T he governm entofficials are perm itted to collect taxes, and the cash o r

p ro p e rty
th e y
c o lle c t
i n
ta x e s
a re
c o n s id e r e d
a s
le g a lly
b e lo n g in g
t o
th e
g o v e rn m e n t,
a n d
n o t
c o n s id e r e d
a s
s to le n
p ro p e rty
i n
th e ir h a n d s .
T her ig h t o f th egovernm ent to le v y ta x e sis re s tric te d o n ly
to ab o n a
fid e g o v e rn m e n t,a n d
d o e s
n o t a p p ly
t o
a n y
p ira te
w ho
d e c id e d
o n
h is
ow n
t o
ro b
th e
m asses
in
a n
o r g a n iz e d
fashion.' Even
w hen
itisth e o ffic ia l g o v e rn m e n t le v y in g
th e
taxes, if the systemo fta x a tio nisu n ju s t, a s fo re x a m p le -if o n e
segm ento fth e p o p u la tio n
isd is c rim in a te d a g a in s ta n d ista x e d
m ore
th a n
a n o th e r-th e n ,
to o , th is
p rin c ip le d o e sn o t a p p ly .
S h m u e l fo rm u la te d h is p rin c ip le b ys ta tin g "D in ad e 'm a lc h u s a
d in a ,"
"T he
la w
o f
th e
governm ent
is
b in d in g " ,
b u t
n o t
" G a z .la n u s ad e 'm a lc h u s a ,""T her o b b e r y o f th eg o v e rn m e n t" .'
B e fo re p ro c e e d in g w ith a n a n a ly s is o f th e s p e c ific so f th e
p rin c ip le"D inad e 'm a lc h u s ad in a ,"
w e o u g h t1 0p o in to u l th a t
1 .B aya
K am a
1 1 3 a ;
Baya Bathra 54b;N e d a rim
2 8 a ;
C lttinlo b .
2 .R am bam
H ilc h o tG u lo h
V 'a y e d a h ,e n d
o fC h a p te r5 , s e c tio n
1 8 .
3 .Ib id , s e c tio n1 4 ; M a g id M is h n a h to s e c tio n 1 3 ; C h o s h e nM is h p o t 3 6 9 , se c \ue000
tio n
8
i n
R am o,
D in a D t'm a lc h u s a D in a
1 0 5
this is am uch
m ore
n a rro w
c o n c e p t
th a n
is o f t e n
im a g in e d .
"D ina
d e 'm a lc h u s ad in a "c a n n o tb e
in te rp re te d
t o
m ean
th a t
th e
la w
o fth e
la n d
is
the law, period. W ere this
5 0 ,
itw o u ld
m ean
th a t w h e r e v e r th e
la w
o fth e
la n d
is d i f f e r e n t f r o m
th e
la w
o fth e T o r a h , it is th e la w
o f th ela n d w h ic h w e a re to fo l\ue000
lo w .T h isisabsurd, fori t w ould reduce Judaism
to a practice of
ritu a ls a lo n e ,
a n d
w o u ld
e ffe c tiv e ly
n u llify
a b o u t h a lf o f
th e
S h u lc h a n
A ruch.
R a th e r, w e ta k e th e p rin c ip le"D inad e 'm a l c h u s ad in a " to
in d ic a te th a t in c e rta inareasa n du n d e r c e rta in , s p e c ific circu m -
s ta n c e s ,th e
h a la c h a
re q u ire s th a t w e
be governed
b y

th e d ic \ue000 ta te s o f th e s o v e re ig n s ta te in w h ic h 'w e liv e r a th e r th a nb yth e te a c h in g so f

th e
T o ra h
a lo n e . W e
w illn o w
consider som e
o f
those areas.
T he
M is h n a
in
N edarim 'te lls
u s
th a t
in
o r d e r to
a v o id
p a y in g
ta x e s ,o n e
m ay
e v e n
sw earw hatm ig h ts e e m
t o
b e
a
fa lse o a th , w h ic h
u n d e rnorm al circum stances w ould not be al\ue000
lo w e d . In
c o m m e n tin go n
th isM is h n a , th e G e m a r a
a s k s ,b u t
w hy
s h o u ld
w e
a llo w
th is
e v e n
fo r
th e
p u r p o s e
o f a v o id in g
p a y in g
ta x e s ,
i f
th e
governm ent
is
le g a lly
e n title d
t o
c o lle c t
th e ir ta x e s ?W hyconsider this a caseo f" s h a 'a sh a d e c h a k "a n d
" o n e s s " , to
p erm it
w h a t s e e m s lik e
a
f a l s e
o a th ?
T o
th is
th e
G em ara
answ ers
th a t th e
M is h n a
is
o b V io u s ly
r e f e r r i n g
t o
a
c a s e
w here
"D ina
d e 'm a lc h u s a "d o e s
n o ta p p ly :
a )e ith e r th e
ta x -c o lle c to r
w as
n o t
a u th o riz e d
b y
th e
g o v e rn m e n t,
b u t
is
m erely
c o lle c tin g
for a pirate;
or b)th e
governm ents o ld
th e
rig h t
to c o lle c t
ta x e s
t o
a
p riv a te
in d iv id u a L
w ho
isu n ju s tly
h o ld in gu p
th e p u b lic
1 0

p a y m u c h m o reth a n th egovernm ent needs ino r d e r that he him self shouldg a in a trem endous profit; i n

s u c h
a
c a s e
w e
n o
lo n g e r
a re
d e a lin g
w ith
a
" d in a
d e 'm a lc h u s a ,"
b u t
ra th e r
a
"cham sonusa"
o r
a
" g a z la n u s a
4 .2 & ",.

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