The Torah teaches (Deuteronomy 20:19-20), "When you besiege a city for many days to wage war against it to seize it, do not destroy its trees by swinging an axe against them, for from it you will eat, and you shall not cut it down; is the tree of the field a man that it should enter the siege before you? Only a tree that you know is not a food tree, it you may destroy and cut down, and build a bulwark against the city that makes war with you, until it is conquered."
Some say one should read the words, "is the tree of the field a man..." as, "for a man is a tree of a field..." The Torah teaches us the importance of not wasting. There is a purpose to all of creation. One may not simply discard something because one wishes to. One should take care of everything. One should definitely not just throw something away that could serve some purpose for something.
In today's times, throwing away food is almost a norm of society. They say that some 40% of all food is simply thrown away. It is for us to learn to appreciate everything available to us, and to value just how much goes into producing whatever it is that we have. We should naturally value another person in the same light as well - leaving behind the attitude of discarding the other when one has had enough of them. This is not a Torah approach by any means.
It's often a good thing to contemplate on the existence of something and how much has happened to it - before one considers simply throwing it away. Think of it.. when eating something as simple as a chocolate yoghurt treat! Have you ever really considered how much goes into it's production? How many people take a part in making sure you'll have it?
The owners of the farms who own the cows - who look after them. The cows that produce the milk. The workman who see to the milk. The milk which required further workers to pasteurize it. There's the packaging of the milk. The people who produce the containers for the milk. Even the graphic designers who must produce the graphics on the milk carton! Then there are the people who produce the printing equipment to produce the coloured graphics on the containers - and of course the designers of the containers too! Nobody thinks about it.
There are the people who produce the trucks which carry the milk to its destination. The people who learn about fridge design to keep that milk cool. The drivers. The teachers of all these people. The universities and colleges that have been built by architects and builders!
Then the people who must understand the cocoa bean which will be used as flavoring for the treat! The designers of the containers for the treat! There's the store owner who must see to the delivery - who must see to the packing on his shelves - and manage his entire store. The list goes on - almost literally ad infinitum.
All these people work day and night - to see to it that the 20 second taste is given to us on one particular day! It's amazing how the world works and just how much goes into us being able to enjoy something which we simply hadn't thought twice about - all for the value of a dollar and even less!
Then of course are the people who forget - that ultimately, it is the Creator of the world who provides everything - so that all this can come about. They forget to thank the Creator with a blessing before they eat and afterwards!
This video below provides a sped up view of what goes into producing a strawberry. It is fascinating to watch, and a great lesson for us to appreciate just how much goes into producing just one strawberry - so that we can have something to enjoy on a hot summer's day! Who after watching the video can still think about not valuing something as simple as this - and who can, without any good reason, simply throw away something that has taken so much and so many people to produce?