A bored morning (essentially, r/hebrew plus a Wikipedia article on murder in Judaism) inspired me to ask you lot about a situation I encountered in a book a long, long time ago. I don’t remember the name of the book, the characters’ names, or even the author, but a bit of the plot stuck with me. I feel like the character involved is going to Hell for this, but why he’s going to Hell, what sins he’s committed, and if he’s committed any sins in the first place, I don’t know.
So here’s the plot: A man has been suffering from a kind of megalomania. He makes friends with a bunch of people, learns their secrets, listens to rumours, etc., and then he strategically tells these secrets and rumours, sometimes in only partially-complete form, to other people. These people then either commit suicide or get so angry that they kill each other. No earthly court would convict him of anything, but he boasts that he’s a serial killer after the fashion of Iago (in Shakespeare’s Othello). He’s been trying to get the main character (a private investigator) to kill himself, but the PI (I think it’s Peter Wimsey from the Wimseyverse books) is too strong-willed for that, and actually executes the killer by gunshot, reasoning that nobody is safe from this man and he could otherwise put all of Britain at risk. That’s when the megalomania is revealed—the killer had planned his own murder at the hands of the main character, if he couldn’t get him to commit suicide.
Even though technically speaking the serial killer was murdered, and he didn’t do anything that a British court could hang or jail him for, I feel like he committed at least a few sins in the eyes of God—I mean very serious ones. I don’t think he murdered in the Halakhic sense either—but he certainly did something wrong.
Could someone satisfy an inquisitive mind?