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10 Adar 5766

Jewish Law Vs Diaspora Law

Rabbi Jonathan Blass

I remember as a child being told that as a Jew living in a non-Jewish country, we must obey the laws of the land in which we live. In light of Prime Minister John Howards remarks regarding those Islamic extemist beliefs in the Australian Community, does the Jewish Religion believe that we as Jews must accept the Laws of The Land in which we live above all else, whilst maintaining our own cultural diveristy within our homes and synagogues?

The laws enacted by government must be obeyed - "dina d'malchuta dina" - unless obeying them involves a transgression of Jewish Law. This is not a question of "cultural diversity" but of the primacy of G-d's commandments. These take precedent over civil legislation not only when a Jew is at home or at his synagogue, but wherever he may be. Were legislation to require a Jew to eat non-kosher food or to dress immodestly, he would be forbidden to obey the legislation even when at work or when walking down the street.

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