Dying in the state′s behalf, and at its request, is a matter that one might expect to be of obvious concern to the Jews throughout their history. Twice in bygone eras (roughly, 1000–586 B.C.E. and 140–63 B.C.E.) they have been ensconced in their own sovereign land faced with preserving that sovereignty against hostile neighbors and ambitious empires. Elsewhere, in the diaspora, they have been forced to define their relations and responsibilities to the host powers under whose authority they have variously been classed as aliens, residents, and citizens. And now, again, they are reestablished in their own sovereign state of Israel, in whose short history the call to arms has been unfortunately all too frequent. Yet the obligation to die for the state is not a question which enjoys especial treatment or ready resolution in Jewish sources.In part, this is because the Jewish tradition is not in nature a philosophical tradition, given to abstract systematic treatises in the manner of the ancient Greeks, to whom Western thought has ever since been indebted. It is, rather, a legal tradition, given over to the interpretation and application of legal minutiae in keeping with divine edict. Still, it would be wrong to conclude that Judaism and the Jewish tradition lack a coherent position on there being (or not being) an obligation to die for the state. Such, anyway, is what I wish to argue in this essay.