Bal Tashchit



Hello to the Rabbi,
A few years ago, I planted a passionfruit vine in my garden. It was very beautiful at first but now it’s a different story. It spread all over my yard covering other plants and fences etc. It has grown completely out of control. I planted  to make the fence look nice and I never ate the fruit, is it permitted to uproot the vine?



It is permitted to uproot he Pasion fruit since it is not really a tree but  a plant. However, or those who say Ha’etz on it and keep Orlah  it is forbidden to uproot  because it is Bal Tashchit. YO are allowed to just stop watering it though.

The Gemara Baba Kama 91b: Rav Dikla someone who planted a Kaba is forbidden to uproot it. The Gemara asks but the beratia asks how many olives should there on be on the tree and it won’t they get knocked down? Olives are different since they are of the seven fruits. R’ Chanina said that this son Shivcha died because he cut down a fig tree. Ravina said If the tree is worth money more than the fruit, he is permitted to cut it down. The Beraita supports this only a tree which you know is a fruit bearing tree …even if the wood is worth more, we learn from the passuk ‘Rak Etz Ma’achal.’ Shmuel’s worker brought him dates to eat. He ate them and they tasted like wine He asked how? He said the tree is planted amongst grapevines. He told them to uproot the grapes and tomorrow bring me their roots.
The Gemara says that is forbidden to cut down a fruit tree and R’ Chanina says that there is a danger in involved as well. However, fi the wood s more valuable than the fruit or the tree is damaging other trees he may cut it down.
The Gemara in Makkot22a says …He who cuts down good trees, and the warning passuk is “From this tree you will eat and that you should not cut down.”

What tis the Issur of cutting down fruit trees. The Gemara in Makkot says it is from Lo Tichrot. Rashi n Bab Kama says it is from Lo Tashchit. The Tosfot Yom Tov answers that the actual passuk is LO Tichrot. If it was from Lo Tashchit that passuk is specifically talking during a siege. Rashi only sued it since  it was the beginning of the passuk since Lo Tichrot is more comprehensive including not cutting down trees even not during a siege.
The Radbaz though makes the distinction that Lo Tichrot is referring to cutting down fruit trees and Lo Tashchit  qualifies it as cutting it down for the sake of destruction.
Wens it permitted to cut down a fruit tree?

The Rosh in Baba Kama writes that it is permitted to cut a fruit tree if he needs the ground where the tree is even if he down ed the tree itself. The Chavot Yair (195) qualifies this as only if he needed the space to build upon not if he just wanted more empty space in his yard to walk around etc. I sis forbidden.
The Rambam in Teshuvot also writes that the only prohibition is to knock down the  tree for no reason at all. The passionfruit vine which is bothering the owners is not sufficient reason to uproot it.
However, the Mishna in Orlah(1:1) writes that tree planted for its wood or for a fence is exempt for the prohibition of Orlah. Therefore, maybe here as well since he planted the tree for beauty not for its fruits it would not have a halacha of Orlah so too here it would not have the halacha of Bal Tashchit.

The Birkei Yosef writes the if you planted the tree for wood it would not be forbidden to cut it down. The Chazon Ish writes on the other hand that one is only allowed to cut wood of a fruit tree if it doesn’t ruin the tree, like gardeners do.
The Mahritz Chiyut also says how can just combine from the two halachot together and make stuff up. The simple understanding the Gemara is that only a barren tree you may cut down but nota fruit tree not matter the reason you planted it. Therefore, since it has fruit it is forbidden to cut down.
 The passionfruit might be classified as a vegetable and not a fruit.

R’ Ovadia Yosef (CO Tu Beshevat 19) said that a papaya is a vegetable and has no problem of Orlah and we say Borei Pri Ha’adama. Since the papaya take a year to grow for the tie of planting and trees don’t act like that.
The Gra”z(203:1) also says that any plant which the leaves and the fruit grow out of the vine itself not from branches s is a vegetable and so rules the Shulchan Aruch (YOD 291:15)
R OY continues that we ay permit the passionfruit as well which has similar growth patterns to papaya and therefore there is no Orlah. According to R’OY there is no orlah either. So, you may cut down the Pasion fruit.