Rashi to Shabbos 89a defines what the Satan is:

בא השטן - הוא יצר הרע המחטיא את האדם הוא העולה ומסטין

Came the Satan - He is the evil inclination, which inspires man to sin. He's the one who comes up and antagonize

He then finishes his comment by writing:

[והאומר] דהוא מדת הדין אין הגון בעיני‏

And the one who says the Satan is the Midas HaDin (Attribute of Judgement), isn't proper in my eyes.

I'm wondering if we know of anyone (through their writings or an explicit citation) who actually does say this.

  • clearly someone did say this... Rashi quotes them! Aug 31, 2018 at 1:10
  • 4th para of sephardic.org/weekly-perasha/… suggests "the power of the Satan is nourished via its access to the side of judgement" but I didn't see this so clearly in the Ramban they mention
    – mbloch
    Aug 31, 2018 at 13:03
  • There's a simple answer - whenever Hashem is called the right and the Chessed etc, Satan automatically represents the opposite - the left, the Din etc. Satan is "the opposite of...". In "איש כי יקח את אחותו ...חסד הוא" Baasht explains how this Chesed is Evil. so it is all relative.
    – Al Berko
    Sep 1, 2018 at 20:58
  • @AlBerko that doesn't answer the question of "does anyone say this"...
    – robev
    Sep 2, 2018 at 2:17
  • @robev Right, just a notion - whoever speaks that G-d is X, Satan is automatically -X. So it's not such as Chidush as you're trying to present it. It's self-evident, once you understand that tactics.
    – Al Berko
    Sep 2, 2018 at 14:46

1 Answer 1


Sanhedrin 26b says:

א"ר חנן למה נקרא שמה תושיה ... דבר אחר תושיה שניתנה בחשאי מפני השטן

With regard to the latter verse, Rabbi Ḥanan says: Why is the Torah called tushiyya? ...Alternatively, tushiyya can be interpreted as an abbreviation: That it was given in secret [shenittena beḥashai]. This was done because of the Satan, lest he claim that the Jewish people are not worthy of it (Rashi).

The Yad Rama, in his commentary on this passage, writes:

מפני השטן מדת הדין שהיתה מעכבת שלא ליתנה לבשר ודם...וזו היא שאמרו שנתנה בחשאי כלומר שלא מדעת מדת הדין שקרויה כאן שטן לפי שהיה לה להשטין ולעכב את הדבר אלו היה הדבר תלוי בה אלא שגברה מדת הרחמים ולא נעשה הדבר ע"פ מדת הדין:

Because the Satan is Midas HaDin, that it wanted to prevent the Torah from being given to mankind...this is what they meant that the Torah was given quietly. Meaning, it wasn't given with the consent of Midas HaDin, which is called here Satan, since it should have interfered (lehastin) and prevented the matter, had it been up to it. However, the Midas HaRachamim (Attribute of Mercy) prevailed and the matter wasn't done with Midas HaDin.

There's also Sefer Chasidim (ed. Margaliyos) Simman 13

והקב"ה אינו מביא הכל בנסיון אלא כשמדבר לעשות טובה לאדם בא השטן שהוא מדת הדין לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא ואומר רבש"ע לא יתכן לעשות לו טובה עד שיעמוד בנסיון.

Hashem doesn't bring everything as a test. Rather, when there's a decision to do good to man, the Satan, who is Midas HaDin, comes before Hashem and says: "Master of the World! This can't be done, to give him something good, until he withstands a test."

Another in Sefer Chasidim (ibid) Simman 164

אפי' מדת הדין שהוא השטן מליץ טוב עליו

Even Midas HaDin which is the Satan, advises good for him.

Finally, the Rokeach (commentary on the Siddur #7 - יהי רצון - ברכת הגומל חסדים טובים page 16)

ומשטן המשחית הוא המחטיא הבריות והעולם ומסטין. ומשטן הוא בעיני [ה'] מדת הדין, כשהקב"ה רוצה להטיב לאדם אומר השטן החנם תעשה לו טובה, תנסהו קודם...‏

"And from the Destructive Satan" is the inciter of people and the world and incites. And the Satan in the eyes of Hashem is Midas HaDin, as when Hashem wants to give good to a person the Satan says: "you're giving him a good thing for naught; test him first".

According to Wikipedia, Sefer Chasidim contains the teachings of the Rokeach.

Some of these sources are obviously coming from Iyov 1:7-12.

Credit to an anonymous scholar who gave me these sources.

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