bal tashchit

Pronunciations

bal tashchit (bahl TAHSH-cheet) listen

Definitions

  • n. Do not be wasteful, do not destroy.

Example Sentences

  • "You should take home those leftovers--you don't want to be over [transgress] on bal tashchis." "The commandment of Bal Tashchit-- do not destroy or waste-- has long been considered central to a Jewish environmental ethic." (source).

Languages of Origin

  • Textual Hebrew

Etymology

  • בל תשחית

    • Who Uses This

      • Religious: Jews who are engaged in religious observance and have some Jewish education

      Regions

      • North America
      • Great Britain
      • South Africa
      • Australia / New Zealand

      Dictionaries

      • The Joys of Hebrew, by Lewis Glinert (New York, 1992).

      Alternative Spellings

      bal tashkhit, bal tashkhis, bal tashchis

Notes

  • "Deriving from the Biblical ban on destroying fruit trees in pursuit of military scorched earth, bal tashchit ...evokes images of the generation of Noah corrupting (hishchit) its way upon the earth and condemning an entire world." (Glinert)

    Note that some people mistakenly write this phrase ba'al tashchit or baal tashchit, assuming it comes from the Hebrew word meaning "one who / master"

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