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Negative Commandment Mitzvah #191

It is a negative commandment "do not destroy a fruit bearing tree during a siege"

As it states in Devarim (Deuteronomy) 20:19, "When you siege a city... do not cut down its trees." This does not mean only during a siege, but rather whenever a person destroys a fruit bearing tree destructively, he is to be whipped. Anyone who destroys a vessel, rips clothing, destroys a building, or ruins food in a destructive way, he is given lashes of disobedience by law of the Sages. But a person may cut down a non-fruit bearing tree, even if there is no reason for doing it, or a fruit tree that has grown old and only gives a small amount of fruit which is not worth the effort to pick (which is less than a quarter of a kav of olives or a kav of dates). Also, it is permitted to cut down a fruit bearing tree that is doing harm to other trees or harm to other fields or because its wood is expensive, because the Torah only forbade an act of destruction.

This applies in all places and at all times, for men and for women.

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