Crime and Punishment in Jewish Law: Essays and Responsa

By Walter Jacob; Moshe Zemer | Go to book overview

of dina d'malkhuta dina applies, "The law of the land is the law." In such cases it is the duty (the Jewish duty) of the employer to obey the law. This principle of dina d'malkhuta dina does not apply in ritual or spiritual matters. A decree to violate Jewish law in such matters should be resisted even to martyrdom. But the decrees of a secular court in civil matters are laws which (by Jewish law) we are bound to obey. Therefore the employer has no moral or religious right to pay the man his wages.


Muggers and Money on Sabbath

Reform Responsa for Our Time (Cincinnati, 1977), #6

Solomon B. Freehof

QUESTION: An elderly Orthodox Jew, walking home from the synagogue on the Sabbath, was, of course, carrying no money. A. hold-up man accosted him and, because the old man had no money to give him, shot and killed him. It was suggested that elderly Orthodox Jews, living in high-risk areas, should carry a token bill with them, say a ten-dollar bill, to hand over to the holdup man and thus save their lives. Is there a liberal Jewish attitude applicable to this opinion? (Asked by Rabbi Reeve Brenner, Hebrew Center of Westchester, Tuckahoe, New York)

ANSWER: Non-Orthodox Jews do not hesitate to carry money on the Sabbath. Therefore there is no need for "a liberal Jewish posture" in this matter. The only type of permission to carry money that would be convincing to an Orthodox man would be that which is based firmly on Orthodox law. Let us, therefore, consider the strict halakhah on the question as to whether a man may carry money on the Sabbath if that act is likely to save his life in case he is held up.

First of all, there is no question that the carrying of money is forbidden on the Sabbath. (See Mainonides, Yad, Shabbat 25:6

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