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When a particular non-Jewish law is inconvenient, and no harm seems to be done to anyone by ignoring (breaking) it... is one required still to keep it? If so, or if not, why? This question specifically relates to situations where Jewish law would actually allow the action, but would not actually give any good reason for overstepping the government law.

I just want to understand how this is thought about in Jewish law and philosophy.

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related judaism.stackexchange.com/q/25789/759 –  Double AA Aug 5 '13 at 10:19
    
The comment from Rabbi Belsky in the answer there says at one point, "But for pedestrians, I don't think the government is that concerned." So the thought is that the government's laws need to be followed unless they aren't serious laws anyway? Is that a commonly accepted perspective? –  Annelise Aug 5 '13 at 11:22
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PS I ask that as someone who does cross the road in the wrong place or at the red pedestrian light if the road is totally quiet... it seems ridiculous not to... but in terms of the principle I just wrote about, I don't know about it :S –  Annelise Aug 5 '13 at 12:06
    
@DoubleAA, Is that question fundamentally about jaywalking, or is it a common example of the principle asked about here? In other words, dupe? –  Seth J Aug 5 '13 at 13:54
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Seth J, it is both. I think there is too much additional information/discussion there to simply focus on this question. –  Annelise Aug 5 '13 at 14:07

1 Answer 1

Yes. There is a concept of "dina d'malchusa dina," the "Law of the Land is the Law." This means that according to Halacha, one must abide by the civil law of the land in which one lives. There is much discussion about the parameters of this din, but as laws generally do not concern themselves with the subjective "convenience" of those to whom they apply, this din is still in effect.

For more information, please see http://www.yeshiva.co/ask/?id=6222 and Rabbi Hershel Schachter's article on Dina D'Malchusa Dina printed in the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society.


Whether one must keep an "inconvenient" law does not relate to Halacha, and instead relates to philosophy of law in general. I suggest you ask that question on a legal philosophy forum. (There does not appear to be a Stackexchange site for law questions.)

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Just want to point out for anyone reading that there is currently an Area51 proposal for a Law SE site. –  Scimonster Nov 17 at 12:44

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