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Waste Not
A Jewish Environmental Ethic
Waste Not
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Tanhum S. Yoreh - Author
Price: $95.00 
Hardcover - 272 pages
Release Date: November 2019
ISBN13: 978-1-4384-7669-8

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Traces the development of bal tashḥit, the Jewish prohibition against wastefulness and destruction, from its biblical origins to the contemporary environmental movement.

Bal tashḥit, the Jewish prohibition against wastefulness and destruction, is considered to be an ecological ethical principle by contemporary Jewish environmentalists. Waste Not provides a comprehensive intellectual history of this concept, charting its evolution from the Bible through classical rabbinic literature, commentaries, codes of law, responsa, and the works of modern environmentalists. Tanhum S. Yoreh uses the methodology of tradition histories to identify pivotal moments in the development of the prohibition—in particular, its transition into an economic framework. He finds that bal tashḥit’s earliest stages of conceptualization connect the prohibition against wastefulness with avoidance of self-harm. This connection is commonplace within contemporary environmental thought and a universalizing Jewish principle with important contributions to be made to Jewish and general societal ecological discourse. Yoreh’s narrative provides a foundation for understanding bal tashḥit as an environmental ethic for today and tomorrow.

“The book’s argument, well grounded as it is in firm textual evidence, displays a sound familiarity with rabbinic sources and communicates it in a manner suitable for readers whose familiarity with those sources may vary. There is a drama implicit in the presentation, having to do with the religiously and environmentally pressing question of how Jewish sources show up under close historical and environmental examination.” — Martin D. Yaffe, University of North Texas

Tanhum S. Yoreh is Assistant Professor at the School of the Environment at the University of Toronto.

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