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Dina dmalchusa dina

Question:

Hi Rabbi,

I have a question, I’ve been very confused on this topic, how exactly does dina dmalchusa dina work? For example if the Torah says you are liable for stealing, let’s say the law of the land is you can steal up to 50 dollars and you will not be arrested, are you liable from the Torah or since its dina dmalchusa dina its allowed, or when the law of the land says you are not liable for certain damages but Torah says you are, so do we follow the law of the land? How do we decide when and when not to follow law of the land? Thanks so much!

 

Answer:

 Hello,

It is hard for me to understand your question. No country allows people to steal. They may not prosecute it because they have too many other things to deal with, but there is no such law that it is permitted. In general, though, dina dmalcusa dina only applies to laws that are for the benefit of the government, or for the good of the population. However, rules that don’t affect the benefit of the king but what goes on between the general population, if these rules go against the Torah’s rules, we don’t say dina dmalchusa dina, if it contradicts the Torah’s law. Therefore, even if a country allowed stealing less than a certain amount it would not be permitted.

Best wishes

Sources:

Levush 369-11, Shach CH:M 73-39.

 

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