I want to preface this question with the statement that I have absolutely no intention of starting a revolution against any government, so this is not off-topic as psak-seeking, and the NSA can just move along.

Is there any halachic problem for Jews to start or participate in a rebellion against the government which they are under? Could they support an opposition force?

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    Why are they revolting?
    – Double AA
    Commented Sep 4, 2014 at 3:22
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    +1 just for your disclaimer :) See Pirkei Avot 3:2 where it says '[p]ray for the welfare of the government, since but for fear of it men would swallow each other alive.' I heard that this also applies to 'tyrannical' governments, since they still keep the streets safe from bands of raving mobs (at least, from mobs that aren't theirs). Commented Sep 4, 2014 at 3:52
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    amongst Gentile nations, (meaning not in an at least formally jewish sate), The correct form seems always to be one of passivity. We have never made a serious attempt to overthrow a Government of a historically non -jewish state in order to found our own. The Bar Kochba revolt was in Judea, the Zionist movement was in Judea.
    – Baby Seal
    Commented Sep 4, 2014 at 3:57
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    @BabySeal "The correct form seems always to be one of passivity." This fits well with the ideology of Shev Ve'al Ta'aseh. The Rabanan often say to just 'sit back' when there isn't a clear choice. This would also apply in a case of revolutions, we would say better to just not get involved. Commented Sep 4, 2014 at 4:14
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    – msh210
    Commented Sep 4, 2014 at 4:44

1 Answer 1


The Gemora in Kesubos 111a says explicitely that there were three oaths in exile which are mentioned in shir hashirim 2,7 3,5 and 5,8: כדרבי יוסי ברבי חנינא דאמר: ג' שבועות הללו למה? אחת שלא יעלו ישראל בחומה, ואחת שהשביע הקדוש ברוך הוא את ישראל שלא ימרדו באומות העולם, ואחת שהשביע הקדוש ברוך הוא את העובדי כוכבים שלא ישתעבדו בהן בישראל יותר מדאי -These 3 Shavuos are for what reason?

  1. G-d made us swear that should not go up to the land of Israel by force,

  2. That we should not rebel against the nations.

  3. G-d made the nations swear that they should not subjugate the Jews too much.

So if the nations treat us well we cannot rebel.

But if they don't keep their oath not to oppress us too much, then tit for tat we can rebel like the Gemora says in Sotah 9b-10a with regards to shimshon: והוא יחל להושיע את ישראל אמר רבי חמא ברבי חנינאהוחל שבועתו של אבימלך דכתיב (בראשית כא, כג) אם תשקר לי ולניני ולנכדי - Shimshon made mundane the oath that Avraham swore to Avimelech not to deceive his children and rashi explains הוחל שבועתו של אבימלך - בטלה לשון לא יחל דברו (במדבר ל) לפי שהם עברו על השבועה תחילה- Because they transgressed their oath first to deceive us by oppressing the jews see Shoftim 13 for the whole story.

The sefer ויואל משה By Rav Yoel Teitelbaum who survived the holocaust and died in 1979 goes at length to prove how these oaths are still halachicly binding today, in first section the section called "Maamar Shalosh Shevuos" (Treatise about the Three Oaths), which is also the main part of the book, is a classical Judaic sources and citations book sourced and interpreted by Rav Teitelbaum on everything about those Three Oaths. but it is beyond the scope of this article to go through. But see here for more halachic examples of the 3 oaths in Jewish history https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Oaths

Stay out of politics in a country which favors the jews, just like the Sanhedrin were silent when Achashveirosh asked them whether to kill vashti or not (Ester 1,13). in the end Homon told the king what to do(1,16 see Rashi Memuchan is Homon) and ultimately sufferred when the king was in his full wrath when he got hanged.

Even if we joined the opposition, Who's to say they will keep their promises to helpus ? they might turn around persecute us and be worst then their predecessors.

In Mishlei 21,1 it says לב מלך ביד ה the heart of a king is in the hands of G-d, He ultimately makes desisions and we should beseach Him.

Pirkei Avos mishna 2,3 also gives advice:
הוו זהירין ברשות, שאין מקרבין לו לאדם אלא לצרך עצמן.
Be careful with the Government (or the opposition who claim to be a better option to replace the govenment), for they only get close to a person for their own benefit
נראין כאוהבין בשעת הנאתן.
They look like they like you when they gain
ואין עומדין לו לאדם בשעת דחקו But they don't stand up for you when you really need them.
One only needs to look at our "friend" who we voted for Franklin Roosevelt who paid no heed to the plea of the very same Jews who had supported and voted for him. He let blood of our breatheren spill like rivers disregarding the cry to save their lives during the holocaust, right until 1941 (where he joined the war for his own benefit because of Pearl harbor), when their bretheren, european Jewry had already been almost decimated By the Nazis Yimach shemom and too few were saved. And he also sent away refugee ships back to europe for a cetain death. We can only pray to G-d who runs the world to truly be our Savior.


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