Pisqa’ 204

Pisqa’ 2041


“Only, the tree which you know to have been useless” (Dt.20:20)—

a fruit-bearing tree [that no longer bears fruit].

Useless for food” (Dt.20:20)—

this refers to a barren tree [that has never borne fruit].

If we are ultimately going to include under the rule

a fruit-bearing tree [that no longer bears fruit],

what, then, does the Teaching mean by:

“The tree . . . useless for food”? (Dt.20:20)

This teaches that

[where two trees impede the siege],

the destruction of the barren tree

precedes that of the fruit-bearing tree.

Is it possible to say that

if the barren tree’s [wood] is more valuable

[than the fruit tree’s fruit, it should be spared]—

in accord with the view of R. Elazar b. R. Shimon?

The Teaching states:

That one you may destroy and chop down” (Dt.20:20)—

using the wood for storage-bins or construction.

“And you may construct siege-works against the city” (Dt.20:20)—

by deploying against it various kinds of catapults,

and by bringing against it any sort of missile.

Until it falls” (Dt.20:20)—

even on the Sabbath.

  1. H:220; JN2:97.