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The opinion of the Shulchan Aruch Harav is that one isn't allowed to build a Sukkah on public property (because it is considered stolen).

In the Soviet Union all property was nationalized and they presumably didn't give permission to build a Sukkah. So how were Lubavitchers able to build Sukkas and (even more) say "Leishev Bassuka" in such a sukkah?

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    I think jxg comment has the answer judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/9817/… – simchastorah Sep 7 '11 at 4:59
  • Does dina d'malchusa dina apply in a malchus harisha in the first place? – yoel Sep 7 '11 at 5:01
  • @simchashatorah So if the government nationalized all property, it would be strictly a "financial" law. Then if they prohibit Sukkas, it would not be a government decree against religion, just a law of how to use their property. – Shmuel Brin Sep 7 '11 at 5:10
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    @yoel pretty much all governments had state religions for a long time (including the Gemarah's time) – Shmuel Brin Sep 7 '11 at 6:04
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    @yoel Dina dmalchusa is a simple financial obligation. If I borrowed money from a priest, I still have to pay it back, even if he may donate that money to a church. – Shmuel Brin Sep 7 '11 at 16:36
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Actually, I don't know why you'd have to ask specifically about the USSR. Wouldn't the same question apply to any feudal-type government, where the king is in principle the owner of all of the land in the kingdom? And AFAIK there's no concept in halachah that you have to ask him for permission to build a sukkah.

I think the reason might be, building on zaq's comment:

All of the housing stock in the USSR (or in a feudal kingdom) may have been government-owned, but it was effectively leased to individuals to use for normal residential purposes. Well, a sukkah is, for us Jews, a normal residential purpose for the week of Sukkos (indeed, halachah considers the sukkah fully the equivalent of a normal house for purposes of civil law - see Sukkah 31a). One presumes, then, that the Communists would have had no particular objection to someone putting up a hut in their back yard just for relaxation or storage or whatever; the fact that they prohibited doing so for religious purposes is, of course, outside of the scope of dina d'malchusa dina.

  • Good point. The same ownership situation applies to much of the land in Israel now, if I'm not mistaken: The actual owner is the State or the JNF, and people get long-term leases. – Isaac Moses Sep 7 '11 at 17:04
  • @Isaac Moses, indeed it is so, you are not mistaken. – jutky Sep 7 '11 at 17:23
  • What if I sell you parchment on condition you don't use it for tfillin? I don't think it should be Masneh al mah shekasuv batorah? – Shmuel Brin Sep 7 '11 at 18:49
  • The issue is that through Dina Dmalchusa they nationalized everything, and after that they are halachically like a huge landlord. – Shmuel Brin Sep 7 '11 at 18:50
  • @tom: but are they allowed to nationalize everything without providing compensation? We know that a Jewish king is not (Rambam, Hil. Melachim 4:3). If not, then it's simply robbery and would have no halachic implications. Anyway, while I agree that a condition such as you describe wouldn't be מתנה על מה שכתוב בתורה (because, after all, you could use other parchment), it's also true that the "leasing" of the house doesn't come with an explicit proviso that it may not be used for religious activities. (Besides, if it did, you'd have to extend the question to all mitzvos that people did at home!) – Alex Sep 7 '11 at 19:56
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I don't think halachicly it would be considered in the possession of the people, so therefore it would not be reshus harabim.

And the reasoning given is that it's stolen if the government steals from you and you ignore them. But that wouldn't be stolen property — maybe it would be considered "aino bershuso" which isn't a problem by succah.

As for dina demalchusah dina, that shouldn't apply to something like this because it would be similar to a situation where the government decides that one who spits on his fellow has to compensate him by transferring ownership of the spitter's house to the one he spit on, or other ridiculous laws.

See http://www.torahweb.org/torah/special/2005/rsch_taxes.html

  • Socialism is not ridiculous. – Double AA Aug 18 '13 at 10:09
  • @DoubleAA i didnt say it is (although i do think it is ever noticed my icon?) i was pointing out that "dina demalchusa dina" isnt a definite – Math chiller Aug 18 '13 at 15:16
  • You gave one exception in the case of Ridiculousness which doesn't seem to apply here. So why doesn't dina demalchusa apply? – Double AA Aug 18 '13 at 15:19

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