Based on the Abarbanel

For the week ending 16 February 2013 / 5 Adar I 5773

Shabbat 135 - 141

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll
  • Which milah can be done on Shabbat
  • Caesarian birth, born circumcised and purchased slaves
  • The status of a baby that didnt survive for 30 days
  • The blessings made at a Brit Milah
  • Use of a strainer on Shabbat and Yom Tov
  • The laws of making nominal construction (ohel)
  • Will Torah ever be forgotten by Jews?
  • The disasters caused by corrupt judges
  • Burial on Yom Tov
  • When appearances count
  • Preparing mustard and other foods
  • Some dietary advice
  • Feeding the animals
  • Indirect handling of muktzah
  • Care of shoes and clothes

Wasting Food or Wasting Body

It is wrong to waste anything.

The Torah prohibits the chopping down of a fruit-bearing tree for military purposes when there is an alternative. Our Sages extended this ban of bal tashchit to the wanton destruction of anything. Some Sages suggested that this concept can even be applied to eating and drinking.

Rabbi Chisda held that one is guilty of bal tashchit if he is capable of subsisting on bread made from barley, which is inferior nutritionally but considerably cheaper, and insists on eating the more expensive and more nutritious bread made from wheat. Rabbi Papa held that one who can subsist on the cheaper beverage of beer and insists on drinking the more expensive but healthier wine is guilty of bal tashchit.

These positions are, however, rejected by the gemara because wasting the body is a more important consideration than wasting food.

The observation made by Maharsha about the connection between Rabbi Papas beer-making industry and his above-mentioned position may perhaps be understood as his considering beer to be of equal nutritional value to wine, thus making the consumption of the more expensive wine a waste of food and money.

What the Sages Say

G-d forbid that we should even consider that Torah will ever be forgotten by the Jewish people for we have been promised that It (the Torah) will not be forgotten from the descendants (Devarim 31:21).

  • Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai

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