24 June 2020

To Mask or Not to Mask . . . Here’s the Answer But it Presents a Conundrum

[Does] The Mishna Berurah Says We Have To Wear A Mask? . . . HaRav Chaim Kanievsky (check out the grass insert mentioned)

In a shiur by the maggid shiur Harav Shlomo Levenstein, he explained in the name of Hagaon Harav Chaim Kanievsky that there is currently an halachic obligation to wear a mask when leaving the house, Kikar H’Shabbos reported.

“I saw a sign at the entrance to shul that according to the instructions of the health ministry, everyone is obligated to wear a mask in shul,” Harav Levinstein said. “I want to draw your attention to a story.”

Rav Levenstein continued: “Someone mentioned to HaRav Chaim Kanievsky that he was wearing a mask due to the health ministry’s instructions and HaRav Chaim responded: ‘Why are you saying the government? Say the Mishna Berurah [obligates us].'”

“‘Which Mishna Berurah?’ the man responded. HaRav Chaim opened a Mishnah Berurah to Siman תקנ”ד, where it’s written that if there’s a difficult situation in a country, there’s a shaila whether to fast on Tisha B’Av or not.

“‘In the Biur Halacha, it’s written: ‘If someone wants to fast when the disease isn’t raging [the immediate danger has passed but the disease is still lurking], he should be advised and warned that he shouldn’t leave his house at all. When he does go out he should be forced to put something over his nose and mouth and a little grass [he calls the grass miata].'”

Harav Levinstein continued: “So Harav Chaim told him: ‘So why are you saying the government [obligates you]? Say the Mishnah Berurah. At a time when there’s a mageifah even when it’s not in full force, you must wear a mask.’” YWN

Thanks to commenter Leah, we now know the “grass” was/is menta/nana/mint.
*What is a little “grass” in the mask? What is miata? 
Is the grass for chlorophyll? 
That would counter the loss of oxygen perhaps?
The Conundrum:

What about the CDC not mandating masks, only recommending them?
What about all the information that explains how ‘unhealthy’ it is?
How it reduces the oxygen level to a “sakana” level 19.5.
The breath vapor goes right through the mask.
How it doesn’t protect one from contracting the virus.
The social distancing of 6ft and avoiding crowds and close contact with others is more effective.

Comments please


leah said...

miata is nana or menta

Neshama said...

Thank you Leah so much. So, its not chlorophyll, its nana (mint). I wonder how that affects the oxygen level?

Neshama said...

LTC, I say it doesn’t protect, in fact it harms the wearer. So, you are agreeing with me?

I don’t personally write these pieces, I only comment within the articles written by others.

The Rabbi herein knows much more than you and me, but you don’t believe that? Right?

Dan G said...

I wonder why no one has mentioned that the Mishnah Berurah is referring to someone who is fasting, not to the general public (and that leads me to believe that the story about R' Chaim is missing some details), apparently because he would be weak, and therefore would be in greater danger

Neshama said...

Dan, I noticed the same thing but haven’t had the time to read the Mishna Berurah to understand the entire message. Also, the Miata is menta which is often used on a fast dat to revive a weakening nefesh. This needs further research. Thank you for your comment.

leah said...

I'm from russia, and Chafetz Chaim who wrote mishna brura also from russia. So it's very valuable knowledge