`271 A Remarkable Source on Masks
Chananya Weissman

June 12, 2023


The Gemara in Sanhedrin 77A distinguishes between various cases of direct and indirect murder. The former carry a death penalty in the human courts, while indirect murderers receive death by heavenly design.

A teaching from Rabbi Zeira is cited with the following inference:

האי מאן דעייליה לחבריה בביתא דשישא ואדליק ליה שרגא ומת חייב טעמא דאדליק ליה שרגא הא לא אדליק ליה שרגא לא

One who brings his fellow into a marble house [which is hermetically sealed] and lights a candle for him, and he dies – he is liable [for directly murdering him]. Thus if he did not light a candle for him, he is not [liable as a direct murderer].

Rashi explains that by lighting the candle, he “invited” that which would kill his victim – actively causing his suffocation – whereas if he did not light a candle, his death is considered to have come in a passive, indirect way.

As Rashi writes: “מת בהבל פיו”.

He died by the breath of his own mouth.

If one is confined to a place without airflow, he will eventually suffocate. Each breath he inhales draws oxygen out of his environment, and each breath he exhales replaces it with carbon dioxide. As time goes on he will increasingly be re-inhaling his own invisible waste, which will ultimately be the cause of his death.

Breathing in one's own exhalation is harmful to one's health and potentially deadly.

But of course. Even an infant instinctively knows that. One who requires complicated scientific “studies” to “prove” the obvious is not intellectual, but the lowest of fools.

One who forces people to wear masks, or misleads them into believing they are harmless, is guilty of harming them physically, perhaps even to the point of a slow death. Although they cannot be charged with direct murder, their punishment will surely be meted out at the hands of heaven.



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