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July 27, 2005



The connection between environmentalism and the prohibition of bal tashchit is quite interesting.

1. Shulchan Arukh has only a very slight discussion of the latter. (I believe relating to the size of crumbs that can be thrown out.)

2. From the talmudic discussion, it seemed to have an essentially ascetic component: Don't use e.g. wheat when barley would suffice. Of course, the less expensive item might be less expensive because it is more widely available...but I think the aescetic explanation feels more authentic. As a student pointed out to me "I shouldn't get an A when a B suffices."

3. You should also look at Noda Bi"Yehuda on hunting (Chelek Yorah De'ah, I forget where): not killing the animals when they can serve a human use would be bal tashchit (I am exxagerating his view, so read it and trash me on the nuance). He comes out against hunting on other grounds.


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