The Mishnah (Talmud Bavli, Masekhet Rosh HaShanah 16A; Original, English) states that "At New Year all creatures pass before Him like Bene'i Maron, as it says (Tehillim 33:15), ‘He that fashioneth the heart of them all, that considereth all their doings'."

What is the connection between the pasuq cited and the Mishnah's statement that said judgement occurs "at New Year"?

  • I read (may have been a Chaba"d newsletter, IIRC), that the concept of judging people on a birthday was common procedure in ancient times, as we asy that Pharoa judged his servants on his birthday (near end of p. Vayeshev.) Likewise, the King of all Kings judges his servants, i.e., mankind on the world's birthday each year. Now, I have to see if I can find the source for this. – DanF Sep 24 '15 at 20:12
  • I'm not sure why you changed the question title. Now, it seems that the title is not as well related to the question that you're asking. I posted my answer based on the content of the question, rather than the title. If you've changed your mind regarding what you want to ask, inform me esp. if my answer is irrelevant. – DanF Sep 24 '15 at 20:56
  • @msh210 I understand the motivation behind rewording the title; but, I specifically wanted the question and its title to pertain to Rosh HaShanah. I'm a bit brain dead now and can't think of a better title. If you can, I'd be delighted. – Lee Sep 24 '15 at 21:47
  • Better now? or just undo all my edits. – msh210 Sep 24 '15 at 21:52

Rosh HaShannah is called the birthday of the world. (HaYom haras olam...see machzor mussaf)

However, the pinnacle of creation is Adam, the first man. Therefore, Rosh HaShannah is the birthday of Adam. (the world's birthday is represented by Adam's birthday.)

The first three words of the pasuk (HaYotzer yachad libam...)can be translated: "The One who forms their hearts together (as one). Then the next words (...HaMeyvin el cal ma'aseyhem) says that He understands all their deeds.

Our sages make a drashah on this pasuk: When does Hashem understand all their deeds (meaning judgment)? It is on the day He originally formed their hearts as one. When did Hashem form all human hearts as one? That was when He formed Adam the first man. (In Adam's soul, was contained the souls of all mankind together.) That was the only time it happened, and it happened on Rosh HaShannah.

This seems to be the understanding of the Ritva. He says in his commentary on Shas (Rosh HaShannah 16a) "The one who forms their hearts together..." ..."This means: At the (original) time of His forming them (man)..." see there.

See also the Ran's perush on 16a for a detailed explanation in line with the Ritva. (That our Mishnah means to focus on the day Adam was created, commanded, sinned, and judged; so too, his descendants would undergo judgment on the same day.)

  • Clever answer. Any sources? – Lee Sep 24 '15 at 16:05
  • @ Lee I edited in a source for you. – David Kenner Sep 25 '15 at 16:10
  • @ Lee TY for the vote! – David Kenner Sep 27 '15 at 0:39

Read Ikar Tosafot Yom Tov on Mishnah Rosh Hashanah 1:2:2:

בר''ה. בגמרא (דף ח') ילפינן לה מקראי. ואף על גב דודאי על כל המאורעות נידונין ובכללם אינך ג' דינים מ''מ בשלשה פרקים הללו הוא גזר דין של כל העולם. ובר''ה כל באי כו' וגוזרין לכ''א חלקו מדברים אלו. הר''נ. ועתוי''ט:

My synopsis / translation of above:

The Gemarah (p. 8 - I did not look at it in detail) asks this question: even though the Mishnah mentions that there are 4 times during the year that the world is judged regarding various specific events, in fact, you see there there are mentioned only 3 actual judgements (i.e., the Mishnah mentions 3 concrete things that are being judged, not 4; similar to your question.) However, what is occurring is that during the other 3 times of the year, the entire world itself is judged regarding these things. On Rosh Hashannah, each person (i.e. mankind) is judged regarding his individual portion of what he receives from the other 3 items.

  • The question was "What is the connection between the pasuq cited and the Mishnah's statement". – msh210 Sep 24 '15 at 21:53

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