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9/11 REDUX

Lessons from the botched NYC photo op.

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Visitor Comments: 15

(15) NM Rosen, May 13, 2009 3:06 PM

waste and garbage

To some degree, is there a difference between waste and garbage? It seems profoundly shocking that while waste is a sin, is it also a sin to toss things out as garbage? If so, how can we better go about waste management and rethink how we either dispose or reuse things?

(14) MARC, May 6, 2009 11:39 PM

Torah Source

Book of Deuteronomy (Chap. 20: 19-20) When you lay siege and battle against a city for a long time in order to capture it, you must not destroy its trees, wielding an ax against them. You may eat of them, but you must not cut them down. It was a common practice in times of old for invading armies to demoralize their enemy by "slash and burn" tactics, literally wiping out orchards, vineyards and fields. Never was this practice tolerated by Jewish tradition. More importantly, this prohibition does not just apply in time of warfare. There is a principle of learning the Torah called kal v'chomer (Hebrew for "the simple from the more difficult"). This means that when ever the Torah gives a specific prohibition within a specific context, that the prohibition applies to any context less difficult than the one stated in the Torah. In the case of bal tashchit, our rabbis understood that there is no situation more difficult than that of warfare. Consequently, the law of bal tashchit applies to every aspect of our lives. Over the centuries, our rabbis elaborated on what it means not to waste anything. We are told not to use more than what we need, not to needlessly destroy anything, not to use something of greater value when something of lesser value will suffice and not to use something in a way it was not meant to be used (which increases the likelihood the item will be broken or destroyed)

(13) Dvirah, May 6, 2009 8:59 AM

Best...not Waste

While I agree 100% on the matter of waste, I'd like to comment that yes, one should have the "best" - but defining this as the correct item for the need. That is what is "best" and not wasteful.

(12) tan, May 5, 2009 4:13 PM

where in the torah does it talk about waste as sin

Could someone tell me where in the torah does it say that waste is a sin.

(11) dovid benjamin, May 5, 2009 12:23 PM

how about the cost of labor wasted?

Rabbi Salomon: You didn't factor in the cost of labor of the thousands of workers in the financial district that had to leave their desks for more than an hour.

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