Avodah Mailing List

Volume 03 : Number 022

Friday, April 16 1999

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 22:19:09 -0400
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
Re: Avodah V3 #20

>ma'alin), his regret of those actions (let's assume he does full fledged
tshuva) doesn't change his status (at least for our purposes; if G-d
wants to consider the reformed nazi of the chasidei umos ha'olam, that
wouldn't impact on how we're supposed to deal with him). Or does it?
	Not any more than it would affect how we would deal with a Jew in a
similar situation.  A person who commits murder,  or any other offense
for that matter,  (and is so proven by proper edus, hasraah,  etc.) can
do all the teshuva in the world,  but Bes Din is still obligated to
execute the mandated punishment.  Teshuva is bein adam lachaveiro;  it
does not affect the rulings of Bes Din.


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Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 23:00:10 -0400
From: "Noah Witty" <nwitty@ix.netcom.com>
Dina d'malchusa & speeding

HM wrote:

"Here's another one.  (I'm particularly guilty of this one.) How many
people observe the speeding laws?  Can anyone on this list say that they
have never in their lives exceeded the speeding limit?

"Perhaps we are all guilty of lawbreaking on one level or another.  The
point is to know that we are and not try and excuse it by saying it is
halachicly permissible. Neither I, or any one else should be excused
from breaking the law. It behooves us to aspire to the level the Torah
requires of us when it commands: Kedoshim TiHiyu".

Excuse me: I have been told by a very knowledgeable rov that it is far from
clear that one commits an aveira when one for example runs fails to come to
a full stop at a stop sign in the dead of night when there is no traffic.
Prudence would require slowing though not necessarily stopping.  Does that
make me (or even you) an avaryan if I slow but do not actually stop? I do
not think so.

Second, at least according to Ramban on kedoshim, I would suggest that
"kedoshim tihiyu" refers to limiting physical pleasures that if indulged in
are permissible yet hedonistic.  There is not necessarily hedonism in
driving 70 mph in a 55 mph zone.  Please do not  prohibit what the Torah
does not for the wrong reason.  Concededly, increasing risk of danger to
health, safety and welfare of self and others may indeed be a bittul of
"venishmartem me-od le-nafshosaichem."

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Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 23:01:27 -0400 (EDT)
From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@idt.net>
Re: Avodah V3 #21

Regarding "Cheating on Taxes" -- without excusing the matter, I think that
there may be a major sociological component here to think about.  In
Europe -- esp. Russia -- I beleive that there were times when taxes on
Jews bordered on confiscatory.  This probably fell into the category of
"Moches she'ein lo kitzva" -- an unlimited or confiscatory tax -- where
the Gemara (in Nedarim, I believe) stated that there was NO dina
D'malchusa involved.  What thus happened is that Jews found it legitimate
to "shave" their tax liability -- even Jews that did not understand the
finer halachic reasoning.  So, we end with an entier generation of Jew
sthat "think" that it is OK to cheat on taxes -- and under those
circumstances, it WAS something that was OK...
BUT, when they came here, these Jews (who were often NOT the "first tier"
in terms of being Talmidei Chachamim) brought along the "minhag" of
cheating on taxes....  Which thus became engrained... Especially when the
"Goyim around" appear to do the same thing as well...

If you work this through, I think that it addresses many of the "Temihot"
that we saw until now...


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Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 00:52:08 -0500 (CDT)
From: "Shoshanah M. & Yosef G. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
REB-SHLOMO digest 648 (fwd)

Interesting tidbit from the Carlebach list that relates to some of the
Chassidic history lessons we received from RMF a while ago. ready for some


Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer
Cong. Bais Tefila, 3555 W. Peterson Ave., Chicago, IL, 60659
ygb@aishdas.org, http://www.aishdas.org/baistefila

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 00:13:03 EDT
From: Mailing list for Reb Shlomo Carlebach Foundation
To: Mailing list for Reb Shlomo Carlebach Foundation
Subject: REB-SHLOMO digest 648

  1) Friday Night Incident in Kotsk
	by "Allan Lehmann" <lehmann@nersp.nerdc.ufl.edu>

       A friend brought Yaakov Enkin's posting about the Friday Night
Incident in Kotsk to my attention. I was pleasantly surprised to see my
article on this subject quoted. I would like to offer a few comments on
the information he provides. 
      My article deals with the Friday Night Incident.  There is no
question that R. Menachem Mendel of Kotsk spent the last twenty years of
his life, from the fall of 1839 until his death in 1859 in seclusion in
his room in the bet midrash in Kotsk, though the seclusion was not as
total as is sometimes pictured. Family members and close disciples, such
as R. Isaac Meir of Gur did see him regularly. The question is when did
this period begin and what provoked it. There is a reasonably reliable
tradition that it began on Simchat Torah. 
      After reviewing the evidence I concluded, following the suggestion
of Prof. Abraham Joshua Heschel zt"l that the Kotsker had some sort of
psychic trauma, what we would call a nervous breakdown today.  What
provoked it is not clear. One theory suggests a dispute with his disciple
R. Mordecai Joseph of Izbica as the trigger. At some point the legend
arose that he ceased to believe in God and performed an antinomian act. 
      I discuss the history of this story in my article and cannot repeat
the details here. In addition to the article in the Journal of Jewish
Studies, I reprinted an expanded version of this article as an appendix to
my book, All is in the Hands of Heaven: The Teachings of Rabbi Mordecai
Joseph Leiner of Izbica (Yeshiva University Press/Ktav, 1989). 
      I mention the reference in J. Langer's Nine Gates in the revised
version of the article. The Langer reference presents an interesting
example of the problems that one often finds in "oral hasidic traditions".
Langer's story is definitely not about R.  Menachem Mendel of Kotsk. The
story of smoking a pipe on Shabbat was originally attributed to R. Baer of
Leovo, the fourth son of R. Israel of Ruzhin, who did become a maskil for
a time and did publicly desecrate Shabbat. A number of authors conflated
stories about Baer of Leovo and R. Menachem Mendel of Kotsk attributing
things to the Kotsker that in fact occurred to Baer of Leovo. [There is no
literature on Baer of Leovo in English aside from a brief paragraph in the
Encyclopedia Judaica, vol. 14, p. 532. In Hebrew, the most recent
literature are the references in David Assaf's major study of Israel of
Ruzhin (Jerusalem, 1997)]. The best evidence that the Kotsker never did
anything contrary to halacha is the fact that all of his major disciples,
who became major hasidic leaders in their own right never severed their
allegiance to him. It is inconceivable that they would have remained loyal
to him had he violated the teachings of Judaism in any way. 
       A final thought on hasidic stories and their historicity. The best
comment is one I heard from one of my rebbaim in yeshivat Tomchei Temimim
Lubavitch.  he told me a story about the Zemach Zedek (the third
Lubavitcher Rebbe): 
      A hasid came to the rebbe and asked about a story he had heard
concerning the Baal Shem Tov that seemed somewhat far-fetched to the
hasid. The Rebbe said: 
    One who believes that it was possible is a hasid. 
    One who believes that every story about the Besht is literally true is
a fool. 
    One who believes that it was impossible is an apikores. 


Rabbi Moshe Faierstein Ph.D.  kotsker@yahoo.com

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Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 13:37:52 +0300 (GMT+0300)
From: Eli Turkel <turkel@math.tau.ac.il>
goyim and olam haba

    The present discussion remins me of a question that has long
bothered me. I once saw in a letter of the Steipler the statement
that a priest who saved Jews in the holocaust would burn in hell
(my paraphase not his words) because he is an idol worshipper.
The fact that he risked his life to save Jews is nice and we give him
a yasher koach but no more. He strongly critcizes earlier sources
that give goyim "credit" for activities beyond the 7 mitzvot.
I assume that is all the more so of Mother Teresa (for example).

Does anyone know of other opinions on the topic?

Kol Tuv,
Eli Turkel

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Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 14:42 +0200
From: BACKON@vms.huji.ac.il
Re: cheating on taxes

Look in the Meiri on Nedarim 28: "Kvar bi'arnu b'harbeh mekomot shelo
ne'emar dina d'malchuta dina ela b'davar sh'hamelech asah chok kavua derech
klal velo sh'yichadesh davar l'eiza yachid biphrat. Vechol sh'asau derech
(caps mine).

Although there may be hafka'at halva'ato for an AKUM, this doesn't refer
to a government. It's also a massive chilul hashem. Pay your taxes !


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Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 09:16:40 -0400
From: "Michael Poppers" <MPoppers@kayescholer.com>
Re: Yom Tov Day Kiddush aka Kidusha Rabba

(Thanks to RWolpoe for his intermediate and accurate post.  I thought the
following might be of further interest.)  The author, Y. Baer, of Siddur
Avodas Yisroel has the following to say re Kiddusha Rabba on Shabbos
morning: "The Kiddush of the Shabbos-day s'udah is called 'Kiddusha Rabba'
in BT P'sachim 106.  'Even Yarchai' explains that the appelation comes from
its b'racha, as 'Borai p'ri haGafen' is the #1 birchas ha'ne'henin -- this
reasoning is forced.  The best explanation comes via the 'Magid Mishna' on
RaMBaM Hilchos Shabbos 29: 'Kiddusha Rabba' is in the 'loshon sagi nohor'
tradition, as it has no Biblical basis.  Checking the Talmud, RaMBaM, and
all Rishonim, the only text associated with this Kiddush is the b'racha of
'Borai p'ri haGafen'; moreover, the 'Even Yarchai' explains that one who
says more than that [one b'racha] is mistaken.  However, the 'Kol Bo' does
note our custom, which prefaces the b'racha with the stanzas of
'V'sho'm'ru' (Sh'mos 31:16) and 'Zochor es yom haShabbos' (Sh'mos 20:8)
[and he also notes the custom to loudly read/sing various mizmorai T'hilim
after Kiddush]."  I think it's fair to echo RWolpoe's words -- the same
[that the essence of Kiddusha Rabba is the b'racha] applies re YT -- and
add that any additional verses/stanzas are probably based in ancient
customs; to quote from the 'Kol Bo', "v'ha'kol l'fi minhagam."

Michael Poppers * Elizabeth, NJ

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Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 09:41:00 -0400
From: "Clark, Eli" <clarke@HUGHESHUBBARD.COM>
Tax Evasion

Copied below is the text of an article I recently submitted for
publication on the issue of tax evasion.

Eli D. Clark

A woman in Toronto recently told me a story: she had gone shopping for
children+s clothes in a -basement boutique.-  Before making her
purchase, she repeatedly asked the saleswoman if the price included
sales tax.  -Yes, it does,- she was told.  Still suspicious, she asked
the saleswoman for a receipt.  -Oh, if you want a receipt, then I+ll
have to charge you more,- the saleswoman replied.  As it happens, sales
receipts do not generally cost extra in Canada.  But printing a receipt
does create a record of the sale, a record that could come to the
attention of local tax authorities.  Also as it happens, both of the
people in the story were Orthodox Jews.

In communities all over the world there is an attitude among some
Orthodox Jews that not paying taxes -- whether sales tax or income tax
-- is acceptable.  The phenomenon takes many forms: merchants who do not
charge sales tax, customers who agree to pay cash for goods or services,
individuals who understate their income on their income tax returns.
Even many people who would not personally cheat the tax authorities seem
most tolerant of those who do -- they make no criticism of such behavior
among their friends, relatives and neighbors and, in many cases,
willingly patronize businesses which flout the tax laws.  Nor does one
hear loud condemnation of this problem from the leadership of our
Yet, cheating on taxes violates Halacha, violates secular law and
creates a prodigious chillul Hashem (desecration of God+s name).  Those
who do not cheat but make it possible for others to evade tax violate
the prohibition of lifnei iver (enabling another to sin).

Dina de-Malchuta Dina

The Halacha is explicit and unequivocal: one is absolutely obligated to
pay taxes imposed by the government.  The obligation stems from the
famous statement of Shmuel, -Dina de-malchuta dina,- literally, the law
of the land is the law.   This halachic principle does not mean that
Jews have to follow secular law (the -law of the land-); it means that
Halacha incorporates the law of the land in which Jews live.  In other
words, where dina de-malchuta dina applies, a requirement of secular law
becomes a halachic obligation as well.

Obviously, this principle has limits.  According to many Rishonim
(medieval authorities), the rule of dina de-malchuta dina applies only
to matters in which the government has a financial interest, such as
taxes and currency regulations.   Other Rishonim take the position that
dina de-malchuta dina applies more broadly, including any matter of
civil law which is the subject of a specific governmental rule, provided
the rule applies to all citizens equally and the rule is enforced by the
government.   Though different opinions exist regarding the precise
scope of this principle, all Rishonim agree that dina de-malchuta dina
applies to laws of taxation.

The consensus regarding taxes derives from a discussion in Bava Kama
113a.  The Gemara quotes a braita relating a dispute whether it is
forbidden to evade a tax.  This prompts the Gemara to ask: How can it be
permitted to evade a tax?  Did Shmuel not state that dina de-malchuta
dina?  The Gemara provides two answers: tax evasion is permitted where
the tax collector is authorized to collect any sum he wishes or,
according to a different opinion, where the tax collector is
self-appointed and does not represent the king.  However, in the absence
of either of these factors, tax evasion is prohibited on the basis of
dina de-malchuta dina.

Stealing from the Government

Thus, the Gemara establishes that evading a fixed tax collected by a
government tax collector is prohibited by Halacha.  The Rambam
formulates this rule in his Mishneh Torah (Hilchot Gezelah ve-Avedah
5:11), where he explains that tax evasion constitutes stealing from the
king.  He adds (ibid. 5:18) that this rule applies only to a king whose
currency is accepted throughout the territory, which reflects that the
citizens have consented to his rule and accepted that he is sovereign
over them.  This requirement, which is codified in the Shulchan Aruch
(Choshen Mishpat 369:6), assuredly is satisfied by the government of the
United States or any other democratically elected government.

In the case of a gentile tax collector, some authorities suggest that
indirect tax evasion may be permitted.   This position is based on the
statement of the Gemara (Bava Kama 113b) that it is forbidden to steal
outright from a gentile, but indirect theft (for example, failing to
repay a loan) is permitted.  However, where such indirect theft could
result in chillul Hashem, it is unanimously prohibited.  Moreover, one
is forbidden from cheating a gentile tax collector who is honest  or
acting solely as the king+s agent.
In contemporary times, poskim (decisors) have also taken a clear
position on the issue.  For instance, R. Moshe Feinstein writes to a
person who engaged in tax evasion that it is -vadai (certain)- that he
must repent for his actions and never do so again.   The context
suggests that the individual+s tax evasion occurred in the United

Tax Evasion: A Federal Crime

In short, the Halacha is very clear that secular law is binding on
matters of taxation.  What does secular law say?  Under federal law,
deliberate tax evasion is a felony.  U.S. law prohibits tax evasion in
any manner, including, for example, the deliberate filing of a false tax
return.  An individual convicted of tax evasion can be sentenced to
prison for up to five years and fines, in some cases, of up to $250,000
(or, if greater, twice the amount of the illegal gain).  Many know that
the only crime of which the notorious Chicago gangster, Al Capone, was
convicted was tax evasion, for which he was sent to prison.  But
imprisonment is not limited to gangsters.  In October 1996, for
instance, one Milton Gottesman was sentenced to twelve months in prison
for deliberately failing to file an income tax return for five years.

To prove that tax evasion is deliberate, the Internal Revenue Service
may use circumstantial evidence, such as failing to report large amounts
of income or avoiding the usual kinds of transactional records.  In some
cases, the Internal Revenue Service has proven that a charitable
deduction was fictitious or inflated.  It is also common to bring
evidence that an individual is spending money that he must have earned
but did not report.  Technically, no amount of tax evasion is too small
to be convicted of tax evasion.  Nevertheless, the Internal Revenue
Service has adopted guidelines which limit criminal charges to taxpayers
who deliberately avoid paying at least $2,500 per year in taxes.

In addition to criminal penalties, failure to file a tax return or pay a
tax may result in civil fines, which can range up to 150% of the amount
of taxes not paid.  An additional penalty of 20-40% may also be imposed.
Sales tax is collected by the states, not the federal government, and
each state punishes tax evasion differently.  In New York, for example,
failure to file a return or pay any tax is punished with a fine of up to
30% or, where the failure is deliberate, 50%.  In addition, the
deliberate failure to file a return or collect sales tax is a criminal
misdemeanor in New York.

Lifnei Iver and Criminal Complicity

Because tax evasion is a violation of Halacha, it is likewise forbidden
for a Jew to enable another Jew to evade tax.  This prohibition derives
from the Torah+s command (Vayikra 19:14), -Lifnei iver lo titen
michshol,- do not put a stumbling block before a blind person.  The
Gemara (Pesachim 22a) explains that this rule prohibits extending a cup
of wine to a Nazir (who is forbidden to drink wine) or the limb of a
live animal to a non-Jew (who is forbidden to eat such a limb).
However, the Gemara (Avodah Zarah 6b) also limits the prohibition
regarding providing wine to a Nazir to a case of -trei ibrei de-nahara,-
two sides of the river, i.e., where a river separates the Nazir from the
wine he wishes to drink.  In other words, one violates the prohibition
of lifnei iver only when the Nazir or other prospective sinner is unable
to commit a particular sin without one+s assistance.  Yet, where others
are available to assist a person in committing the sin, one who provides
such assistance would not transgress the Biblical commandment of -lifnei
iver,- though one would, according to most authorities, violate a
rabbinic prohibition against -mesaye+a yedei ovrei averah,- assisting
the committers of sins.

If one makes a purchase from a Jewish merchant who does not collect and
pay sales tax, one has enabled the merchant to violate the law which,
under the principle of dina de-malchuta dina, constitutes a violation of
Halacha as well.  Indeed, this case clearly resembles the one addressed
in the Gemara (Bava Metzi+a 75b), which states that every individual who
facilitates a loan transaction involving the payment or collection of
interest is guilty of lifnei iver, including the witnesses to the loan
and the scribe who draws up the loan document.  So too in the case of
the person who patronizes a tax-evading merchant, the shopper+s payment
for the purchase enables the merchant to violate the Halacha.

As we have mentioned, whether such facilitation constitutes a Torah
transgression or a rabbinic one depends on whether the merchant would be
able to commit the sin of tax evasion without one+s assistance.  How
does this rule apply to purchasing from a merchant who evades sales
taxes?  Two possibilities present themselves.  It is possible that the
willingness of other customers to patronize a particular merchant may
reduce one+s own purchases to a violation of the rabbinic prohibition
rather than the Biblical one.  On the other hand, the Halacha may deem
each individual customer to be violating the Biblical prohibition,
because each separate sales transaction that goes unreported to the tax
authorities may represent a separate transgression on the part of the
merchant.  According to R. Herschel Schachter, R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik
z.t.l. stated that patronizing a Jewish merchant who cheats on his taxes
violates the Biblical prohibition of lifnei iver.

Secular law also prohibits complicity in tax evasion.  Aiding or
abetting the criminal evasion of tax is treated in U.S. law as
equivalent to tax evasion.  Similarly, the United States Criminal Code
classifies conspiracy to defraud the United States as a felony.

Moral Issues

In addition to arguments rooted in Jewish and secular law, paying taxes
represents a moral obligation.  The Torah (Shemot 19:6) commands us to
be a mamlechet kohanim ve-goy kadosh, a kingdom of priests and a holy
nation.  This mandate requires avoiding any kind of dishonesty,
certainly financial dishonesty.  The Torah (Devarim 25:16) tells us that
maintaining false weights and measures is a to+evah, an abomination.  As
the Sefer ha-Chinuch (no. 259) writes: -The rationale for the mitzvah of
honesty and distancing oneself from theft and deceit among human beings
is known by every person of intelligence.-  Indeed, according to R. S.
R. Hirsch (Commentary to Bereshit 6:11), the sin of chamas for which the
generation of the flood were destroyed was -underhand dealing by
cunning, astute dishonesty.-
Finally, there is the issue of chillul Hashem.  The Torah (Vayikra
22:32) explicitly prohibits desecrating the name of God, and the Halacha
states that dishonesty in business constitutes a chillul Hashem.   In
fact, theft from a gentile is actually worse than theft from a Jew
because it causes a chillul Hashem.   The Talmud Yerushalmi (Bava Kama
4:3) recounts that Rabban Gamliel prohibited stealing from a gentile
specifically because of chillul Hashem.  Similarly, according to
Tosafot, there is no dispute that robbing from a gentile is prohibited
where it will cause a chillul Hashem.

Halachically speaking, there is no question about the permissibility of
the evasion of taxes.  Tax evasion is both a sin and a crime.  It
violates numerous biblical prohibitions, including that of chillul
Hashem.  In addition to active tax evasion, Halacha prohibits enabling
others to commit the transgression.  These rules unquestionably apply in
the United States and most Western countries, where the tax system is
administered in an even-handed and objective fashion.  Therefore, the
halachic community must not -- cannot -- tolerate the continued evasion
of taxes in our midst.  If one would not patronize a restaurant owned by
a religious Jew who serves non-kosher food, then one should not
patronize a store owned by a religious Jew who cheats on his taxes.
Even paying cash for an item is forbidden where circumstances suggest
that the purchase will not be reported to the appropriate tax
authorities.  Nor is tax evasion justified by a motive to dedicate the
extra money to a mitzvah, such as tzedaka (charity) or supporting talmud
Torah (Torah study).  As is well-known, the Torah invalidated the
mitzvah ha-ba+ah ba-averah, the mitzvah that is brought about by a

The Torah demands absolute integrity in business matters.  According to
the Gemara (Shabbat 31a), when we face Divine judgement, we are asked a
series of questions about how we lived our earthly lives.  For example,
we are asked: Kavata itim le-Torah?  Did you establish time for Torah
study?  Tzipita le-yeshu+a?  Did you anticipate the redemption?  It
seems fair to assume that the questions are ranked in order of
importance.  Yet, the first question is not about Torah study or
awaiting the coming of Mashiach.  The first question we are asked by the
Divine Judge is: Nasata ve-natata be-emunah?  Did you conduct business

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Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 10:11:00 -0400
From: "Pechman, Abraham" <APechman@mwellp.com>
RE: me'inyana d'yoma

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Shoshanah M. & Yosef G. Bechhofer
> [mailto:sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu]
> Sent: Thursday, April 15, 1999 6:39 PM
> To: avodah@aishdas.org
> Subject: Re: me'inyana d'yoma
> While it is absolutely forbidden to lie on one's 1040, 
> because of geneivas
> da'as - and - in many cases, because of geneiva mamash, the reality is

Anyone who signs their tax form (1040) is signing a statement that the tax
return and all accompanying schedules is true, correct and complete. Would
signing a false statement constitute lying (I seem to recall Rav Schachter
of YU quoting in this context the GR"A that it does)? If so, we can add
midvar sheker tirchak as an issur.

> that most Jews - not just Orthodox ones - have a Kimba Wood problem -
> remember her? (And the candidate befor her - forget her name, 
> but wasn't
> she Jewish?) i.e., the Babysitter issue. We also have a problem with
> stores that do not charge sales tax - which some Poskim 

The store which collects sales tax is doing so as a service to the customer
(it's a service that the state requires him to perform). If the vendor fails
to collect the sales tax, a liability still exists from the customer to the
state. (And let's think about this: some states (NY is one of them) require
sales tax to be paid by their residents on out of state purchases. Nobody
ever makes this payment. Would these poskim forbid buying in a state you
don't live in?)

> actually forbid
> buying in. The parameters here are based on Hafka'as Halva'as 
> Akum, that
> most Poskim hold is permissible.

As far as lying goes, the customer wouldn't have a problem, since the
customer doesn't sign a statement. The vendor does sign a return (at least
in NYS), but the signature is not for an explicit statement that the return
is true, accurate, and complete; that assurance on the part of the vendor is
implied. Does this qualify as a sheker? If so, then the customer could run
into lifnei iveir problems (at least if he strong arms an unwilling vendor
to take cash for no sales tax. Actually, in that case, the vendor could
report the sale at a lower price and add the sales tax, in which case the
customer might have violated some form of ona'ah).
> On Thu, 15 Apr 1999, Harry Maryles wrote:
> > I once heard a shiur by Rabbi Hillel David to the effect that Dinei
> > D'Malchusa Dina applies most specificly to paying income and other
> > taxes. Therefore,cheating on ones income taxes is most 
> definately Assur. 
> > 
> > HM
> > 
> Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer
> Cong. Bais Tefila, 3555 W. Peterson Ave., Chicago, IL, 60659
> ygb@aishdas.org, http://www.aishdas.org/baistefila

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Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 10:13:07 -0400
From: "Pechman, Abraham" <APechman@mwellp.com>
RE: Avodah V3 #20

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Hershel Ginsburg [mailto:ginzy@netvision.net.il]
> Sent: Thursday, April 15, 1999 6:46 PM
> To: avodah@aishdas.org
> Subject: Re: Avodah V3 #20
> >Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 14:38:37 -0400
> >From: "Pechman, Abraham" <APechman@mwellp.com>
> >Subject: me'inyana d'yoma
> >
> >I'm acquainted with several people who consider themselves committed,
> >Orthodox Jews, who happen to cheat on their taxes. The 
> cheating normally
> >takes the form of not reporting income, and inflating deductions.
> >
> >Is there any room to say that these acquaintances of mine are not in
> >violation of any halachos?
> >
> >Avi Pechman
> >
> Since when does paying taxes have anything to do with 
> "frumkeit"?  After

Because lying and other forms of cheating are generally considered
anti-Torah acts.

> all, it's not a ritual, let alone a publicly viewable ritual 
> [written in a
> slightly  cynical tone].

Avi Pechman 

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Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 10:36:32 -0400
From: richard_wolpoe@ibi.com
paying Babystitters on the books


How many people take out withholding taxes when they pay their baby 
sitter?  I'll tell you.  NO ONE! <<

We do.    Ask my accounatant.
You are accused of being guilty of ujumping to conclusions <smile>.
Rich Wolpoe

PS I do not mean to imply any tzidkus or superiority here.  It is bascially 
yir'as ho'onesh.. RW 

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Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 10:24:01 -0400
From: "Pechman, Abraham" <APechman@mwellp.com>
RE: me'inyana d'yoma

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Harry Maryles [mailto:C-Maryles@neiu.edu]
> Sent: Thursday, April 15, 1999 6:28 PM
> To: avodah@aishdas.org
> Subject: Re: me'inyana d'yoma
> How many people take out withholding taxes when they pay their baby 
> sitter?  I'll tell you.  NO ONE! 
> Here's another one.  (I'm particularly guilty of this one.) How many 
> people observe the speeding laws?  Can anyone on this list 
> say that they 
> have never in their lives exceeded the speeding limit?
> Perhaps we are all guilty of lawbreaking on one level or 
> another.  The 
> point is to know that we are and not try and excuse it by 
> saying it is 
> halachicly permissible. Neither I, or any one else should be excused 
> from breaking the law. It behooves us to aspire to the level 
> the Torah 
> requires of us when it commands: Kedoshim TiHiyu.
> HM

At the risk of being accused of thinking that it's okay to speed, jaywalk,
change lanes without signalling, back up an entrance ramp, or other
borderline illegal activities (for the record, I think that all these
activities are wrong, and possibly assur as dangerous to oneself and to
others), there's a difference between taxes and speeding: taxes falls under
the category of dina d'malchusa dina; speeding may not.

But just to clear up a misconception, there are minimum wage amounts for
withholding taxes. See form W-4: if annual income is under $701 (with a
sublimit of $250 for interest and dividends) and the taxpayer cannot be
claimed as dependent on someone else's return, withholding is not required.
(However, a tax return might be required. Consult your tax advisor for

Avi Pechman

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Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 10:39:52 -0400
From: richard_wolpoe@ibi.com
Clarification on Cheating on Taxes

Note: I concur that cheating has many aweful halachic and hashkofo 
ramifications.  Perhaps I took Avi Pechamn a bit too literally when he asked if 
there is ANY justification.  My point was to simply not JUDGE people we suspect 
of cheaing on their taxes because there MIGHT be mitigating circumstances.  it 
was not meant as a heter to exploit rationalizations, rather it was a limud 
zechus on how some people might rationalize what they do.

Rich Wolpoe

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Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 10:28:45 -0400
From: "Pechman, Abraham" <APechman@mwellp.com>
RE: Avodah V3 #20

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Gershon Dubin [mailto:gershon.dubin@juno.com]
> Sent: Thursday, April 15, 1999 10:19 PM
> To: avodah@aishdas.org
> Subject: Re: Avodah V3 #20
> >ma'alin), his regret of those actions (let's assume he does 
> full fledged
> tshuva) doesn't change his status (at least for our purposes; if G-d
> wants to consider the reformed nazi of the chasidei umos ha'olam, that
> wouldn't impact on how we're supposed to deal with him). Or does it?
> 	Not any more than it would affect how we would deal 
> with a Jew in a
> similar situation.  A person who commits murder,  or any other offense
> for that matter,  (and is so proven by proper edus, hasraah,  
> etc.) can
> do all the teshuva in the world,  but Bes Din is still obligated to
> execute the mandated punishment.  Teshuva is bein adam lachaveiro;  it
> does not affect the rulings of Bes Din.
> Gershon

If I see a Jew committing certain aveiros, I am either permitted or required
to hate him (gemara I think Pesachim on an amud beis). If I know he did
teshuva, I am no longer allowed/required to hate him. (This is irregardless
of any punishment outstanding from beis din (or shamayim).) I don't know
that the same applies to a non-Jew who committed a crime and then repented.

Avi Pechman

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