The classic philosophical question:

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

So, according to Purim Torah Judaism, does it?

Sources please. ;)

This question is Purim Torah and is not intended to be taken completely seriously. See the Purim Torah policy.


7 Answers 7


Tehillim 19:4

אֵֽין־אֹ֭מֶר וְאֵ֣ין דְּבָרִ֑ים בְּ֝לִ֗י נִשְׁמָ֥ע קוֹלָֽם׃

No one speaks and nothing happens without its sound being heard.

So apparently, not only does it not make a sound, it didn't happen at all!

(Since sometimes trees do fall in the forest, say that animals heard it.)


Have you ever noticed a child when he falls, if he sees someone he will cry, however if no one is around he will keep quiet? Ki Ha'Adam Eitz Ha'Sadeh - trees are compared to people. Trees only make noise when they fall if someone is there, if no one is there they remain quiet.

(Megilas Eitzim 15:26)

  • I have to remember this rule next time my timid nephew is (not) around. He cries when I look at him. (I'm really not that scary!)
    – DanF
    Commented Feb 28, 2018 at 18:41

I am surprised that none of the answerers noticed the explicit verse that talks specifically about a falling tree, Ecclestiastes 11:3:

וְאִם יִפּוֹל עֵץ בַּדָּרוֹם וְאִם בַּצָּפוֹן מְקוֹם שֶׁיִּפּוֹל הָעֵץ שָׁם יְהוּא

Wherever a tree falls, even in the farthest south or the farthest north (Antarctica or the Arctic ocean, where there are no people) - where the tree falls, there is a "yhoo", a shout.

So the answer is: clearly yes!


Forest in Hebrew is יער and tree is אילן. When a tree falls, you get לין א, and when it falls in a forest you get יעלין אר, yellin' Arr!, which of course makes a sound.


When Achashverosh rose in a fury from Esther's party, he decided to go outside and have people chop down fruit trees as a way for him to let off steam. It didn't work, and he went back inside still angry. (Targum sheni to 7:7.)

Why did he need to go outside? As the king, he could just order people to chop down fruit trees and he could let off steam without going outside personally. It must be that he was worried that, were he not present when the trees fell, they wouldn't make a sound and he therefore wouldn't let off steam.


The great Rabbi Ise T of Brisk answers this question authoritatively:

"Sound" has two connotations.

1) The vibration of air otherwise known as sound waves. This is from the Poel - the actor's perspective.

2) The brain waves generated by the arrival of the sound waves in the hearing organ. This is from the Mekabel - the recipient's perspective.

Now we are examining a case where the first type of "sound" occurs, but the second form of "sound" does not occur. So the Shaila really is if the ikar is the Poel or the Mekabel.

Presumably, one should be machmir for both shitas.

  • Him?
    – msh210
    Commented Feb 20, 2015 at 18:49
  • 5
    @msh210 Chas V'shalom! I am referring to the great iced tea company of Brisk, source of the method of chilling incision and grinding concepts!
    – LN6595
    Commented Feb 20, 2015 at 18:52
  • sounds more like the rogatchover
    – wfb
    Commented Mar 19, 2019 at 15:50

This is a pasuk: אז ירננו כל עצי יער, then all the trees of the forest will sing, לפני ה' כי בא, before God who is coming. In other words, the trees make noise because God is there to hear them. This was also the view of the philosopher George Berkeley who explained that the world exists because God perceives it.

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