What are the specifications of Dina Dimalchusah? A more targeted question to answer would be: If I ripped off the label of my mattress — the label that says its removal is punishable by federal law — am I also doing a sin? If so, why; if not, why not?
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As stated, in the mattress example, that tag is there to prevent mattress manufacturers from putting all sorts of awful stuff in their mattresses and consumers not knowing. Once you've read the "ingredients label" and have bought the mattress, you can do whatever you want with it. (Well if you go to sell it to someone else it gets tricky ...) So rip away!
The Gemara's discussions of dina d'malchusa apply to paying your taxes (pay them).
Rabbi Aharon Soloveichik was of the opinion that dina d'malchusa means halacha absolutely requires you to come to a full stop at every stop sign, even at 3AM when there's no one anywhere in a mile radius.
Other authorities say it's limited to things vital to the state (such as taxes), or things significant enough that the state would actually punish someone for.
I heard this from Rav Shmuel Eliyahu:
Even if a consumer of a mattress were forbidden by law to remove the label there would have to be some kind actual enforcement of that law to bring it under DDD (at least according to this opinion).
To start, it is pretty settled that dina d'malchusa dina applies to paying taxes. According to the Ran's commentary to Nedarim 28a, "paying taxes is like paying rent, it is the cost you pay for living in that country." C.f. Ramah to Choson Mishpat 369:6. Rabbi Joseph Solovechik also held that one should not shop at a store where you know the owner does not pay taxes because you are being lifnei iver (assisting him to sin).
Unfortunately, there are many people, rabbis included, who hold that dina d'malchusa dina applies only to financial laws. That argument, more or less, coincides with the Mechaber who says that dina d’malchusa dina is limited to government interests.
The Rama disagrees and says that it applies to anything that is designed to promote the well being of society. According to Rabbi Eliyahu Fink, most poskim agree with this definition which includes but is not limited to, criminal law, minimum wage laws, environmental laws and child labor laws. My Rav, Rabbi Gedaliah Anemer, zt'l, held that secular laws designed to keep people safe -- e.g. traffic laws -- are especially important to observe. Crossing against the light, for example, was not only illegal under Jewish law by application of dina d'malchusa dina, Rabbi Anemer told me, but the act might be a hillul Hashem if observed by non-Jews as it appears to demonstrate Jewish contempt for the civil laws. That issue was especially personal for Rabbi Anemer who lost his brother, sister-in-law and their entire family in a car crash eruv Pesach in 1957.