Despite clear halachos that apply nowadays and codification in Rambam's Mishneh Torah, Rif, Rosh and Semag, and discussion by a host of other commentaries, as far as I (and the Taz, YD 116:6) can tell, the Tur and Shulchan Aruch do not discuss the laws of destroying trees/Bal Tashchis anywhere. Why is this? (Sources, please!)

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    It's not the only thing missing
    – Double AA
    Apr 1, 2019 at 20:23
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    @DoubleAA certainly true, but I would ask questions on other cases that were discussed in earlier codes as well... Apr 1, 2019 at 20:48

1 Answer 1


R. Jacob Reischer addresses this in a responsum:

Shu"t Shevut Yaakov 1:159

גם על הטור אין תימא כל כך דאף דלאו בפירוש אתמר מכללא אתמר כיון דאיסור לקצוץ אילנות הוא לאו דוקא אלא ה"ה כל המאבד דרך השחתה עובר בלא תשחית כלשון הרמב"ם ואיסורא דבל תשחית מוזכר כמה פעמים בטור וכמבואר בי"ד הל' אבילות סי' שמ"ט וסי' ש"ן ע"ש והיתרא דמותר לקוץ במקום דמזיק לאחריני מבואר כמה פעמים בטור ח"מ סי' קנ"ה יע"ש כל זה נ"ל ברור

There is also not such a question on the Tur, because even if it is not said explicitly it is said implicitly – since the prohibition of cutting trees is not specific, rather anyone who destroys in a destructive manner violates bal tashchit, as expressed by Rambam. And the prohibition of bal tashchit is mentioned many times in the Tur, as is clarified in Y.D. Hilchot Aveilut 349 and 350 see there. And the exemption that it is permissible to cut in a place where it harms others is clarified many times in the Tur, in C.M. 155 see there. All this seems clear to me.

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    Thanks, nice find, but the answer isn't very compelling. There are a significant enough number of halachos associated with this that would lead us to expect psak. Apr 2, 2019 at 0:42

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