I was just reading a Devar Torah which said "Hashem does not judge human beings on Shabbos." I feel like I've heard this before but I'm wondering if this is true. Does anyone know of a primary source (Rishonim or earlier) that discusses whether Hashem judges on Shabbos? Thank you so much.

(This question is not about whether someone gets punished on Shabbos. It's only about whether Hashem judges on Shabbos.)

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    Rosh Hashana is on Shabbat in two months, fwiw.
    – Double AA
    Jul 15, 2020 at 15:42
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    The gemarra says that every day Hashem sits on His throne of Judgement and judges the whole world. Sounds like even on Shabbos?
    – robev
    Jul 15, 2020 at 15:48
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    B'Rosh Hashanah Yikaseivun but with a shinui I guess
    – rosends
    Jul 15, 2020 at 17:10
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    It could be because ein donin baShabbos
    – Russell
    Jul 15, 2020 at 19:59
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    @DoubleAA Interestingly, I have heard this idea before (in a Drush sort of way) specifically because of Rosh Hashana falling out on Shabbos. I don't recall all the details (if I had to guess, I would say it's one of the Chassidic stories from R' Levi Yitzchak Miberditchev) but it went something like since Rosh Hashana is on Shabbos, Hashem isn't allowed to condemn us in judgement, but giving us a positive judgement is Hatzolas Nefashos, so therefore Hashem is 'forced' to judge us favorably on Shabbos Rosh Hashana. Jul 16, 2020 at 12:35

2 Answers 2


I emailed my father and he helped me out.

The Daas Zekeinim Mibaalei Hatosfos on Shemos 14:2 is explicit that Hashem judges on Shabbos even though it's Assur for humans to:

ולי נראה דדוקא לאדם אבל להקב"ה לא שהרי מצינו שהקב"ה יושב ודן את כל העולם אפילו בשבת ואפילו בר"ה ויום הכפורים אע"פ שלישראל אסור (וכה"ג כתב רש"י ז"ל בר"ה (דף ל' ע"א) ד"ה א"נ דאבני בליליא וכו' ה"מ בנין בני אדם וכו' יע"ש).

(Note that there is another answer there, but if you look into it you will see that it's not arguing this point.)

The Mechilta is also explicit that Hashem judges on Shabbos:

מכילתא דרבי ישמעאל כי תשא - מסכתא דשבתא פרשה א - כי ששת ימים עשה ה' את השמים ואת הארץ וביום השביעי שבת. ממה שבת, מן העבודה, או אף מן הדין, תלמוד לומר וינפש, מגיד שאין הדין בטל מלפניו לעולם; וכן הוא אומר +תהלים פט טו+ צדק ומשפט מכון כסאך חסד ואמת יקדמו פניך, [וכתו' +שם /תהלים/ צז ב+ ענן וערפל סביביו צדק ומשפט מכון כסאו,] ואומר +דברים לב ד+ הצור תמים פעלו כי כל דרכיו משפט וגו'.

See also Mishnas Chaim from Rav Scheinberg (Beshalach 36) for more discussion why it's okay for Hashem to judge on Shabbos.

  • The speculation from the Da’at Zakeinim is not in disagreement with what I wrote, namely that the judgement on Shabbat is in thought. And his reference to Rashi is in regard to the building of the 3rd Temple. But according to Rashi, that Temple is complete (except for the doors) and stored in the Heavens. The concept of building doesn’t relate to it. Jul 19, 2020 at 13:14
  • It’s also worth noting that the Mechilta you quote mentions before your citation that the prosecuting Angel (Plony) also keeps Shabbat. His market is closed and his business stopped. How do you have a trial and judgement without a prosecutor? This only underlines that this “judgement” by G-d on Shabbat is not actual judgement but only on the level of thought in compliance with the halacha as stated by Rambam. That the “writing of the judgement” is from the letters of thought only and the “sealing of judgement” is when they come to a state of actuality and realization. Jul 19, 2020 at 15:17
  • And this follows the idea that when Rosh HaShanah falls on Shabbat we skip the recital of: תעיר ותריע. להכרית כל מריע. This is because the Prosecuting Angel is not present on Shabbat. There is no actual judgement. Jul 19, 2020 at 15:55
  • And all this follows the general idea that we don’t blow shofar on Shabbat (see Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Shofar 2:6). The very act which confuses and overturns the case of the Prosecuting Angel is not done. This is because the actual judgement does not take place. On Shabbat it is only in thought. Jul 19, 2020 at 16:16

It's the plain meaning of the verse from Tehillim 147:19 which says:

מַגִּ֣יד דְּבָרָ֣יו לְיַעֲקֹ֑ב חֻקָּ֥יו וּ֝מִשְׁפָּטָ֗יו לְיִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃

That all the laws and judgements in Torah which G-d commanded to the Jewish people are also observed by G-d. This follows one of the long-standing teachings the Lubavitcher Rebbe like is found for example in Torat Menachem Hitvadiyut, vol. 3 from the year 5711, pg. 12 notes 26-27

And like the Rebbe cites from Yerushalmi Rosh HaShanah, chapter 1, Halacha 3 which says:

בנוהג שבעולם מלך בשר ודם גוזר גזירה. רצה מקיימה רצו אחרים מקיימים אותה אבל הקב"ה אינו כן אלא גוזר גזירה ומקיימה תחילה מאי טעמא ושמרו את משמרתי אני ה' אני הוא ששימרתי מצותיה של תורה תחילה.

This is the same sentiment that is also expressed by Rabbi Avin Bar Rav Adda in relation to tefillin as found in Berachot 6a, which says:

Rabbi Avin bar Rav Adda said that Rabbi Yitzḥak said: From where is it derived that the Holy One, Blessed be He, wears phylacteries? As it is stated: “The Lord has sworn by His right hand, and by the arm of His strength”

And so the answer to your question should be found in the laws of Shabbat.

Rambam in Mishnah Torah, Hilchot Shabbat 24:7 which says:

[A court] may not punish on Shabbat. Even though the punishment is a positive commandment, it does not override [forbidden types of work on] Shabbat. How is this? If one surely become liable for lashes or the death penalty, we neither give him lashes nor kill him on Shabbat; as it is stated (Exodus 35:3), "You may not kindle fire in all of your inhabitations on the Shabbat day"—this is a prohibition to the court that, on Shabbat, they not burn someone who became liable for burning. And the same is true with the other punishments.

However this raises the same question you raise. Does this prohibition only apply to the execution of the judgement or the process of judgement itself?

But if one considers the first halacha in that same chapter, the prohibition would seem to extend even to the judgement itself which would be like discussing with your business associates, meaning those Judges sitting with you on the Jewish court, what business to take up the next day.

In other words, actual deliberation of the case and judgement, while leaving the execution of the judgement until after Shabbat, is also prohibited on Shabbat.

Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Shabbat 24:1

Some acts are forbidden on the Sabbath even though they neither resemble nor lead to prohibited work. Why then were they forbidden? Because it is written: "If you refrain from following your business on the Sabbath, on my holy day… If you honor it, not following your wonted ways, not pursuing your business, nor speaking of it" (Isaiah 58:13). Hence, one is forbidden to go anywhere on the Sabbath in connection with his business, or even to talk about it. Thus one must not discuss with his partner what to sell on the next day, or what to buy, or how to build a certain house, or what merchandise to take to such-and-such a place. All this, and the like, is forbidden, for it is written "nor speaking of it." That is to say, speaking of business on the Sabbath is forbidden; thinking of it, however, is permitted.

And it is worth noting that the last comment from Rambam in this halacha appears to be an insight into the judgement of Rosh Hashanah, for example, when it falls out on Shabbat. Rambam emphasizes that thinking about business matters is not prohibited on Shabbat.

And so, in context G-d could think about how a judgement would be deliberated in the Heavenly court and how it might resolve.

But this last concept needs to be understood in the context of the teaching of Eliyahu HaNavi that is found in the P'tach Eliyahu recited at Mincha of erev Shabbat. G-d's thoughts are not like our thoughts. From our perspective, G-d's thoughts are like a completed action, even though by G-d it is thought.

And this idea relates also to the concept of G-d judging someone unfavorably on Rosh HaShanah. And yet through our actions through the remaining cycle of Tishrei, that judgement can be overturned.

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    I wouldn't think the plain meaning of Tehillim 147:19 is that Hashem follows the Torah. Do you have anyone else who agrees with this reading? By the way, your source of Hashem wearing tefillin is a counter proof to your understanding. If we wore such tefillin, it would be pasul. Hashem wears pasul tefillin? Must be He doesn't follow the Torah...Also, I believe there's no prohibition for Beis Din to effect rulings on Shabbos. The Rambam just says they can't punish. Can they be mechayev someone money? I think it's only Rabbinic that they can't...so why can't Hashem?
    – robev
    Jul 15, 2020 at 20:17
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    Are you of the opinion that things that happen to people on Shabbos are not a result of judgment? That sounds like a much bigger contradiction with all of our sources. And of course, you can set up a court on Shabbos for things that need to happen for that Shabbos: sefaria.org/Mishnah_Shabbat.24.5
    – Heshy
    Jul 16, 2020 at 10:52
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    Not a downvoter, and as it stands now, I believe this is a complete and valid answer, with the exception of the first line. You can't claim that it's 'the plain meaning' of a Passuk when you have to have an explanation from the Rebbe based off of a Yerushalmi to explain it. Is it a valid explanation? Sure. Is it the simple explanation? Absolutely not. Jul 16, 2020 at 12:30
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    How in the world is that the plain meaning of the Posuk? The context is we're praising G-d for all the wonders he does, and one of them is (Sefaria translation) "He issued His commands to Jacob, His statutes and rules to Israel." It's praising G-d that He gave us the commandments, not that G-d follows the commandments. If the words were 'Maggid Devarav La'Elokim, Chukav Umishpatav Le'Atzmo' then you can argue that the 'plain meaning' is referring to G-d. But since it says 'Le'Yaakov' and 'Le'Yisrael', the plain meaning is obviously referring to the Jews. (1/2) Jul 16, 2020 at 13:52
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    (2/2) Claiming otherwise is literally the opposite of the words 'plain meaning'! And for crying out loud, I just looked at the link you provided from Toras Menachem, and the words are literally 'Kidroshas Chazal Al Haposuk"! It says explicitly in your source that it's a Drasha, which is by definition not the simple reading! If it would be the simple reading, it would be the Pshat! Again, claiming that an interpretation of the Posuk is that Hashem keeps the Torah is perfectly fine, but claiming it's the plain meaning is completely wrong! Jul 16, 2020 at 13:52

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