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Israeli Taxes II


Rabbi David Sperling

Iyyar 6, 5781
The main problem in my mind with paying these taxes is the fact that by a Jew doing these sins, it’s a Chilul Hashem. There are multiple countries in the world that don’t take income tax (Bermuda, the UAE). Why is it not better to live in those countries instead? Is it not a Chilul Hashem to sit around and support these sins?
Shalom, Thank you for getting back to us. When it comes to Chillul Hashem – your question relates more to the government rather than the individual paying the taxes. For the individual it is clearly a greater desecration of G-d’s Name NOT to pat taxes. We see throughout the world, that when religious Jews get caught avoiding taxes (in Israel, the USA and other places), it is a huge chilul Hashem. As we wrote before, according to halacha it is permitted (and obligatory) to pay taxes in Israel. As such, it could not be a Chilul Hashem to pay them. As to the government – there you may have a question. If the Jewish government does things that are against the Torah, is it not a Chilul Hashem? The answer is probably “yes”. But let us take into account several factors before moving to Berumda – 1. The return of the Jewish people to the land of Israel is itself a sanctification of G-d’s name. See the prophet Ezekial 27 “(17)’Son of man, when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their way and by their doings; their way before Me was as the uncleanness of a woman in her impurity. (18) Wherefore I poured out My fury upon them for the blood which they had shed upon the land, and because they had defiled it with their idols; (19) and I scattered them among the nations, and they were dispersed through the countries; according to their way and according to their doings I judged them. (20) And when they came unto the nations, whither they came, they profaned My holy name; in that men said of them: These are the people of the Lord, and are gone forth out of His land. (21) But I had pity for My holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations, whither they came. (22) Therefore say unto the house of Israel: Thus saith the Lord God: I do not this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name, which ye have profaned among the nations, whither ye came. (23) And I will sanctify My great name, which hath been profaned among the nations, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the nations shall know that I am the Lord, saith the Lord God, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. (24) For I will take you from among the nations, and gather you out of all the countries, and will bring you into your own land.” 2. Rav Zvi Yehudah Kook zt”l used to explain the words of the Talmud, that a Kiddush Hashem is greater than a Chilul Hashem (which sounds pretty obvious, and does not need the Gemara to teach us!) by explaining that the correct translation is “The Kiddush Hashem aspect is greater than the Chilukl Hashem aspect (when the two are mixed)” That is, the state of Israel does involve both good and bad – but our sages are teaching us that in such a case, the good outweighs the bad. 3. By religious Jews staying in the State and adding their voice and vote, slowly we will be able to lessen the bad and increase the good. With that in mind, let me send you blessings to (if you already live here in Israel) stay and add your wonderful Torah and mitzvot to our country, or (if you are not yet here) blessings to merit to come and help the Jewish people in their task of adding light and holiness to the world. We need you – and I have no doubt that your mitzvot will be more powerful here than in Bermudan. Blessings.
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