My shul has arranged that the cross-walk signals in front of the shul are automated on Shabbos so no one has to push a button to get a walk signal. This can be annoying for non-Jewish drivers who must wait an extra 45 seconds even if no one is crossing. Since I can get to shul without violating jay-walking laws, am I required to wait for the light under the concept of dina d'malchuso dina, or can I cross when I think it is safe? If so, what factors should I consider (e.g. setting a bad example for children)?

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    I am confused. Why would Shabbos be different than during the week, especially if there is a way of not jaywalking? Commented Jan 23, 2013 at 18:46
  • @Gershon Gold: People claim that it is permitted to jay walk on Shabbos if the only way to get a walk signal is to push a button. But I like your question, too, because I know people who claim that dina d'malchusa dina does not apply to traffic laws. Commented Jan 23, 2013 at 20:55
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    Be careful even if you think it's safe...
    – Yehoshua
    Commented Jan 24, 2013 at 19:08
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    I think you have two questions here. 1)Is jaywalking permissible specifically on Shabbath for those who hold that it is not permissible during the week? 2)For those who hold that jaywalking (on whatever day) is permissible, is it permissible even if a non-jaywalking option is not only available to me, but even automated for my convenience?
    – Seth J
    Commented May 21, 2013 at 20:17

1 Answer 1




Is it permissible to jaywalk and to walk against a red light even though it is technically illegal?


Some people claim that dina d'malchusa dina (the law of the land), applies even to these issues. I think it all depends. When the streets are empty and there is no traffic -- for cars it is considered a major offense to go through red lights even then. But for pedestrians, I don't think the government is that concerned. But when there's a lot of traffic, and people still walk in the street, and it makes your heart skip to see cars dodging the people, then it's a terrible thing to do.

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    Rabbi Gedalia Anemer, zt'l, was a bit more machmir, holding that safety laws are covered by dina d'malchusa dina. It should be noted that his brother and his brother's entire family were killed in an auto accident, and the Rav lost a student who was hit by a car when he crossed in the middle of a busy street on his way to yeshiva. For him, it was not an issue of whether the police prosecute jaywalking (which I define as crossing against a light as well as crossing outside of a crossing zone). His said all safety laws should be followed. He also opposed speeding. Commented Jan 24, 2013 at 14:59

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