Abiding by Civilian Law
In general, there is a halachic principle called dina di-malkuta dina, which means that Halacha demands obedience to the laws made by civil authorities. However, it's important to note that this principle is limited and is discussed at length by the modern day Rabbinic authorities.
- The Gemara says Dina D'Malchusa Dina ("the law of the land is the law"). Several reasons are suggested for this
- Dina dimalchuta dina applies to democracies such as the United States.
Stealing from the Government
- Baba Kama 113a, Nedarim 28a, Gittin 10b, Bava Basra 54b. The principle of dina di-malkhuta dina is accepted as the halacha (Ritva Nedarim 28a says that there's no opinion in the Gemara that argues with it). Rambam Hilchot Gezelot 5:11 and Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat 369:6 codify this principle as halacha regarding the taxes of the government.
- Rashbam Baba Batra 54b s.v. "Viahamar Shmuel" writes that the taxes and laws of the king are binding because the people accept it upon themselves. This is also the opinion of the Rambam (Hilchot Gezelah Vaveidah 5:18). Avnei Nezer YD 312:12 elaborates on this idea and explains that it is based on the phrase על ממלכתו הוא ובניו בקרב ישראל (Devarim 17:20) - only among and with the consent of the people if he king. An expression of how dina dmalchuta is based on the people is that the people of that country accept to use the coins of that king (Gra CM 369:9).
- Ran Nedarim 28a s.v. "Bamoches" says because the land belongs to the king, he can make the laws, and if you don't abide he can kick you out of his land. Chatom Sofer 1:44 writes that the Ran is only relevant to taxes that are against the will of the people but laws related to custom and manners even the Ran agrees that these are binding because the people agree to the king's dominion. Rav Yakov Arieli extends the Chatom Sofer to any taxes that is for the benefit of the people such as money spent on highways and bridges.
- Rabbenu Yona (Aliyot of Rabbenu Yona Baba Batra 54b s.v. "Umi Amar") says this works like hefker beit din hefker, that the king has dominion over all property.
- Mabit (Kiryat Sefer Gezela 5) says that this is derived from the laws of a king derived from Sefer Shmuel Alef Perek 8.
- Halachos of Other People's Money pg. 34. see note 71 where he quotes from Rav Yosef Eliyahu Henkin (Writings of Rav Yosef Eliyahu Henkin 96:8), Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Maadanei Eretz 20:8), Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igrot Moshe CM 2:62), Shevet Halevi 2:58