Saturday, 26 March 2016

Government rulings which clash with Jewish Law

There are those who cover themselves in a cloak making themselves appear to be G-d-fearing,  arguing that since we live in the United States, we are obliged to heed the demands of the country’s ruler and ask him how to conduct ourselves, especially bearing in mind the Torah ruling ‘the law of the land is binding’.

Jewish Law rules that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish People with Torah designated borders.

There is a further major ruling inscribed in the laws of Shabbos: even an area of land outside of the borders of Israel as for example land in Sinai; should there arises a threat that ‘should the land of Israel be vulnerable before them [the enemy]’ even if they present no more than minimal danger in preparation only, announcing that their wish to enter is temporary for no more than stubble and straw [animal fodder] and then they will turn back - Jewish law demands we go out armed in desecration of the Sabbath and take a stand with military force.

This Jewish law applies anywhere, even outside of Israel, at all times and in all situations wherever a Jew finds himself. Even one who is already observant he has the merit [must desecrate the Shabbos] to take a powerful military stand for this major principle of Torah and mitzvos - endangered Jewish lives since the issue is of ‘the land lies open - vulnerable -  before them’. Furthermore, it is imperative to stand with all military force to hold control over the Sinai since from there Israel lies open to attack. This certainly stands true should the life threatening danger present itself from within the Land of Israel.

Here arises an apparent contradiction: we are obliged to follow the rule of government - ‘the law of the land is binding’.   

To this there are two responses:

1. This ruling ‘the law of the land is binding’ applies only when the law is not in contradiction with Jewish Law. Should the ruling contradict Jewish Law, it carries no validity.

2. Furthermore, the obligation to ‘observe the rule of government’ does not stem from the power of a government enacted law,  but has its root in Jewish law. Therefore should a government instruction undermine Jewish law - it is null and void.  

For example, when a medical specialist instructs one to violate the Shabbat or Yom Kippur in order to be healed of an illness, Jewish law demands that one  perform those activities. By this performance one is infact enhancing the observance of the Shabbat; this is the law of Shabbat observance. The patient does not perform the activity because of the doctor’s instruction, rather it is Jewish Law which demands that the patient perform the doctor’s instruction.

The same ruling pertains to life-threatening situations.  When one asks the advice of a military expert and he gives his reply [regardless of his personal religiosity] - since we apply to him the ruling that an expert will not give instructions contra to his expertise] [the matter will anyways become obvious soon thereafter]; should he state that such activities will lead to ‘the land lying vulnerably open to the enemy’ we are obliged to follow his advice not because he is a general in the army and this expert stated so, but because it is our obligation to listen to his guidance because Jewish law states that one is obliged to follow the advice of a military expert.  

However the Israeli politician who meets with the gentile [US Pres.] is fearful that in the future the gentile will impose pressure and thinks that Israel needs their favors, tell him as follows: stand strong as demanded by Torah! Do not claim our success is the result of ‘our strength and power of our hands’ - rather Israel’s representatives need to state shamelessly [with all respect as Torah commands] that we must act differently to his demands. This alone will lead to the real strength of your country [USA] and the strength of the Land and Nation of Israel.   

Public talk by the Lubavitcher Rebbe spoken 19th Kislev 1980.

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