הרב עזרא בצרי, דיני ממנות, חלק ב', עמ' שעו, הערה 9
והנה דין זה (של הרחקת נזיקין) לצערנו הרב מזלזלים בו והרבה אנשים נגרם להם נזק כידוע, ואפילו קצור ימים, ה' יצילנו, כידוע מפי הבקיאים בזה, ויש להתריע על כך. ובפרט העוסקים בצרכי ציבור, שעליהם מוטלת האחריות בדבר ואין לעבור על כך בשתיקה. בפרט מפעלים חדשים יש לבדוק היטב מה מידת הנזק העלול להגרם לציבור ולא לאשר הקמת מפעל עד שיתקיים בו כהלכה דין הרחקת הנזק, והקמת מתקנים לקליטת הפסולת שלא תזיק לסביבה
And behold, this law [of distancing damages], to our great sorrow is disregarded and many people suffer damage, and even have their lives shortened, (may G-d save us), as the experts inform us, and we should sound the alarm on this. Especially responsible are those that are involved in community affairs, who should not be silent on this matter. New factories in particular, should be inspected carefully to know what type of damages they are likely to cause to the community and factories should not be permitted to be established until they are known to be observing the law of distancing of damages properly, and to have all the necessary devices for ensuring that their wastes will not damage the environment… [We are obligated] to go according to the laws of nature that Hashem established in his world and his creation, and to be careful from natural pitfalls and to protect ourselves and others from things that are likely to cause damage; and if we don’t operate thusly, even if we think we are acting out of faith, this is the council of the evil inclination… Because these matters [smoking in public or causing other harmful forms of pollution to others] are not to be considered as inconsequential, heaven forbid. They are matters of Jewish law that stand up at the heights of the world and in the future there will be an accounting on them [on those who violate these prohibitions]… Every person is obligated to be very extremely careful with the conditions and rules of safety that are known today [even if not written in the Talmud], because these are not just matters of good behavior or piety towards neighbors, but rather these are clearly mandated by law and a person is obligated to observe the rules of safety according to the custom of the locale and according to the recommendations of the experts. Everyone who observes halacha and wouldn’t violate Torah law is obligated to observe all laws of protecting others and safety rules … as if they [the safety laws] were written in the Talmud and the Shulchan Arukh. [translation by Dr. Akiva Wolff]
Suggested Discussion Questions:
According to these texts, what responsibilities do we have to prevent damages today?
How can we make these teachings better known and understood in the Jewish community and our society?
Time Period: Contemporary (The Yom Kippur War until the present-day)