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Why Jews didn't suffer deforestation:

Reader comment on item: Islam's Inadvertent Patterns
in response to reader comment: Justifying the absurd and the sordid

Submitted by Motke (Israel), Mar 18, 2014 at 10:49

We see in the Mishna that the rabbis forbade raising sheep/goats in inhabited places because of the damage to fields:

"אין מגדלין בהמה דקה בארץ ישראל, אבל מגדלין במדברות שביהודה ובמדברות של כפר עמוק"

Rashi explains:

"משום ישוב ארץ ישראל שמבעיר את השדות"

The Rambam iterates:

"לפיכך אסרו חכמים לגדל בהמה דקה וחיה דקה בארץ ישראל במקום השדות והכרמים, אלא ביערים ובמדברות שבארץ ישראל"

These regulations weren't just in the late era. The Rambam explains about the "ecological" pact Joshua and the court made with the people when they divided the land to the tribes:

"עשרה תנאים התנה יהושוע ובית דינו בשעה שחילק את הארץ, ואלו הן: (א) התנה שמרעין בהמה דקה ביערים שאילניהן גסין, אבל אין מרעין שם בהמה גסה. ויער שאילניו דקים, אין מרעין בו לא גסה ולא דקה אלא מדעת בעליו."

There are also regulations there about which plants you may not take (wholly or partially). Also about fish:

"(ו) וכן התנה שיהיה כל אדם מותר לצוד דגים מים טבריה: והוא, שיצוד בחכה בלבד; אבל לא יפרוש קלע ויעמיד ספינה שם, אלא בני השבט שהגיע אותו הים בחלקם."

In short, the Jews didn't have a deforestation problem because of regulations stemming from the principle of not harming others and common-sense resource management.

Submitting....

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