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Punishments for Law-Breakers?
#14
In response to the above two posts:

A. From amenyahu:

1. "If I were living under a Torah-observant government..."

You should not expect that to happen until after the King Moshiach/Messiach has come and established the Messianic Era (may it be speedily in our days!). In the meantime, you can help in the effort to bring that about sooner. How? In addition to prayer and acts of goodness and kindness, you should learn and make a commitment to govern yourself (your own attitudes, thoughts speech and actions) in accordance with the Torah's path for pious Noahides. If you have a family, you should work in a pleasant, loving way to bring your household into this righteous path of faith and observance as much as possible, and teach it to your children and instil in them this faith and observance. You should also make an effort to try to locate and connect with like-minded people locally, nationally and internationally, to bolster the growth of properly-directed Noahide communities. And in this process you should try to foster support and alliance from properly-directed, Noahide-friendly Orthodox Jews. At all the different levels in this process, Ask Noah is happy to give guidance and assistance as much as possible - that is what we are here for! The main thing limiting Ask Noah's efforts for Noahide outreach is a lack of sufficient financial resources for the organization.

2. "If I were living under a Torah-observant government. I may have more trust in it."

When people begin to put their trust in their government, that is the beginning of its decline from any righteous ways that it might be following at the time. The founding fathers of the United States were wise enough to know that, which is why they instituted the declaration "In G-D we trust" as the motto of the U.S. They even instituted for this motto to be printed on every piece of U.S. currency, since money is something that everyone strives for and looks at. They themselves had no trust in the government they were setting up, and they prayed to G-d that all of the checks and balances they set up to keep the government under the control of its citizens would hold out as long as possible. They instituted this prayer as the last verse in the national anthem (unfortunately it is the last verse, which nobody knows unless they search for it):
"Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: 'In G-d is our trust.'
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!"

This means that when the people no longer trust in G-d, it will no longer be the land of the free or the home of the brave. As Rabbi Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi taught in Ethics of the Fathers 6:2, "There is no free man except one who occupies himself with the study of the Torah."

Thus, in our day and age, the main thing that destroys free societies is atheism, because atheism is the main tool of the evil force of communism (a.k.a. socialism) whose goal is the overthrow. take-over and enslavement of free societies. But even without the pressure of the evil force of communism/socialism, the economists of the 17'00s realized that a free democratic society, as the U.S. was founded to be, could not endure for more than 100 to 200 years, because a majority of the people would eventually institute or accept upon themselves a welfare society, funded by the government from taxes and fees, thus leading to all the societal and governmental evils that we are well aware of.

3. "I'm starting to wonder about the place of government in the commandment about Dinim, whether it refers to courts or government. Since it refers to judges and not politicians, it seems to refer more to courts. Is that correct or incorrect?

In Hebrew the name of the commandment is for "Dinim". This means "Laws". There are two types of laws that this commandment encompasses: laws decreed by G-d, and laws that logically need to be instituted by governments for the good of the citizens and the society - largely because people are inclined to sin, lie and cheat. The laws from G-d provide the context and the boundaries for the appropriate societal laws. Theoretical rules are not laws unless violators are judged and the laws are enforced. To the extent that laws are made and/or enforced by members of the government, the commandment for "Dinim" encompasses BOTH the government that is necessary for making and enforcing the laws and the court system that judges based on those laws. Inherent in this commandment is that the government officials and the judges must be actually held to and judged by the strictest standards of observance of the laws.

4. "I'm really not sure about the government's right to make new punishable laws."

The government is granted that right by G-d within the guidelines of the commandment for Dinim - meaning that a governmental law must not violate G-d's law, and it should be logically beneficial for the society and fairly/justly applied. Main areas of justified governmental ("secular") laws are commerce, national defense and protection of public health and safety.

You should also know that in accordance with the commandment for Dinim, G-d judges a government based on its observance of the very laws which it institutes. For example, in the constitution of the U.S.S.R., a government law was included that guaranteed freedom of religion. However in actual fact, the government denied freedom of religion, in violation of its own law. Thus the 6th Lubavitcher Rebbe, who was sentenced to death by the Soviets for practicing freedom of religion and thank G-d saved by a great miracle, prophesied that the U.S.S.R. government would not last more than 60 to 70 years. In fact it officially lasted 69 years (19'22-19'91).

You should also know that "the hearts of kings are in the hand of G-d". G-d allows a sinful government to exist for some number of years to fulfill some purpose known to Him, and then He brings judgment of its sins upon it and brings it down, to be replaced by another government. This is in contrast to the original situation, in which the world was allowed to become so corrupt that its correction came through total destruction by the Great Flood, except for a saving remnant led by Noah. After that point, G-d improved the hearts of human beings to the extent that the world would never again fall into such a low state, and there would always be a positive force of goodness, righteousness and repentance. All of this is in G-d's plan for preparing the world for the Messianic Era.

B. To Brandyn:

1. "If a government chooses to say proverbially war against one type of non-noahide offence over others is this allowed?"

I don't fully understand your question. If a government decides to ignore enforcement of particular a law, then that rule is no longer really a law in that country. There are three ways that a government law can be dismissed: a) passing another law to repeal the original law, b) ignoring enforcement of the law, c) the government directly violates this law that it made (see #4 above).

2. "If a government allows the breaking of a noahide law, for example, the prohibition against murder [e.g. by allowing elective abortion, or euthanasia] is this government legitimate in the eyes of Hashem? and perhaps I should ask if one is obligated to adhere to the other 'laws' they form when they do not enforce the noahide commandments?"

The Noahide commandment for Dinim (Laws) includes an aspect that is not included in the other 6 commandments. The other six explicit commandments themselves (not including their logical and moral extensions), are all prohibitions ("negative" commandments), in the format of "You shall not ..." (murder, steal, blaspheme G-d's Name, etc.) In contrast, the commandment for Dinim includes a positive aspect in addition to the prohibitory aspect. This means that some credit is given for any amount of the positive aspect that is observed. Consider for example the giving of proper charity, which is a positive commandment for Jews, and a positive logical and moral obligation for Gentiles. This means that if one person gives a penny and another person gives 1 million dollars for proper charity, both are credited with the merit of a good deed. The amount of merit a person receives from G-d is judged by Him, from His all-knowing and perfect perspective. Thus it is possible that the person who gives 1 penny might get more merit than the person who gives 1 million dollars, or the person who gives 1 million dollars might get 1 million times more merit, or more or less. Nevertheless, a person who gives proper charity in any amount has observed G-d's will to some extent, and is credited and rewarded appropriately by G-d for that.

Likewise with the Noahide commandment for Dinim. Even if a government does not uphold all of the Noahide commandments, it still has a positive obligation to uphold each individual Noahide commandment and each logically incumbent obligation - meaning that if a government enacts partial fulfillment of its Torah-based obligations, not the least of which is maintenance of societal order so that people are not "swallowing one another alive", that is worthwhile and better then total non-fulfillment. And it is in the hearts of the citizens to be inspired to do what they can to maintain the positive aspects of the system and to improve it, in opposition to those who are trying to drag it down.
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Messages In This Thread
Punishments for Law-Breakers? - by davidPeterson - 04-04-2011, 04:28 AM
RE: Punishments? - by Director Michael - 04-10-2011, 03:15 PM
RE: Punishments? - by davidPeterson - 04-20-2011, 12:40 AM
RE: Punishments? - by Director Michael - 04-21-2011, 03:00 PM
RE: Punishments? - by davidPeterson - 04-21-2011, 08:41 PM
RE: Punishments? - by Director Michael - 04-29-2011, 12:09 AM
RE: Punishments? - by Director Michael - 07-02-2011, 04:58 AM
RE: Punishments? - by brandynpublic - 12-09-2011, 06:15 PM
RE: Punishments? - by Director Michael - 12-14-2011, 11:25 AM
RE: Punishments for Law-Breakers? - by amenyahu - 03-16-2013, 07:17 AM
RE: Punishments for Law-Breakers? - by Director Michael - 04-10-2013, 11:36 PM
Ignorance - by Emmanuel Villegas - 06-22-2011, 10:01 PM
Societal laws and punishments - by amenyahu - 03-13-2013, 09:00 AM
Death Penalty - by brandynpublic - 12-27-2015, 10:25 AM
Execution - by Stittad - 01-10-2019, 07:42 AM

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