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Jewish & American Law

Lloyd (1970) agrees with this explanation for why the ancient Hebrews and the contemporary Jewish world community find it obligatory to honor and respect the Halakha. The unswerving monotheism of Judaism is based upon God's will, which dictates the moral pattern for all mankind. From earliest times, obedience to that will was secured by the divine punishment of offenders whether individuals or whole peoples. Lloyd (1970) says that the Hebrew prophets ceaselessly reiterated the imperative character of God's law, the obligatory character of that law upon rulers and people alike, and the condign punishment that God would inflict on those who disregarded his decrees.

The Hebraic view of divine law was that the law had to be obeyed as an integral part of man's obligations to God (Dorff, 1977). The biblical system of law, which governs all aspects of human behavior encompasses within itself an elaborate Code which guides the individual, qua individual, as well as his relationships with others in society (Walter, 1999). While conformance with this Code is purely voluntary in Judaism, as enforcement measures outside of God's own actions are not available to ensure compliance, there are some critical differences between what motivates an individual to obey Halakha and American law.


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