August 28, 2003
For the Kids
Trees are Terrific
This week's portion, Shoftim, talks all about trees. In one very important paragraph, we learn that we are never to cut down fruit trees, even when it is a time of war and the fruit trees belong to the enemy. God says: You are not going to war against the trees.
This passage teaches us something about the Jewish attitude toward nature. We must not destroy or waste the beautiful gifts that God has planted on this Earth. The name of this commandment is: bal tashchit (do not destroy or waste). It doesn't just refer to fruit trees. It also means don't trample the flowers in your Dad's garden, turn the light off when you walk out of the room and throw your garbage in the trash and not into the ocean. Can you do that?