How Much Loyalty Should Jews Have To A Gentile State?

In his sixth lecture on R. Chaim Ozer Grodzinksi for Torah in Motion, history professor Marc B. Shapiro says: For us today, if, say, the United States instituted some anti-Semitic decrees, we would all assume immediately that we no longer need to be loyal to it. It is no longer a valid government. Therefore, the law of the land is no longer binding on the Jew. And yet that would be incorrect.

Until the past century or so, every government in history was anti-Semitic to greater or lesser extent and no one ever said that the Gentile law of the land was not law to the Jew. The Jewish law that the Gentile law of the land (as practiced, not just theory or law on the books) is law to the Jew was developed under the Greeks and the Romans, terribly anti-Semitic governments.

According to the Shulchan Aruch, even if the government taxes Jews more than non-Jews, this is still binding on the Jew, unless the tax differential is excessive or the Gentile government started confiscating our property.

If this discrimination happened today, some Modern Orthodox poskim would probably rule that such laws are not binding on the Jew because in the modern era, we have more appreciation of human rights.

The Gerrer rebbe suggested bribing the Nazis.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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