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Daily Aliya for Shoftim, Shvii (7th Aliya)

Aliya Summary: Before waging battle against an enemy in battle, we are commanded to make a peaceful overture. Only if the enemy does not accept the offer does battle ensue. In the battles against the Canaanite nations, if the enemy does not agree to the peace offer, the Israelites are commanded to completely annihilate them. We are forbidden to cut down fruit-bearing trees while laying siege on a city. The Aliya closes with the procedure to be followed in the event of an unsolved murder.

This Aliya includes an extremely important concept. While waging war, we are forbidden from cutting down fruit-bearing trees in the sieged city (even if the space is needed to fight the war). Of all things to be concerned about while waging war, why is this included? The answer is because the concept of wasting/destroying needlessly is simply that important! It extends to everything we do, from wasting food, breaking or throwing something useful away, to wasting someone else’s time by showing up late to a meeting. It’s those seemingly ancillary things that deserve our consideration too!