In Maus from Art Spiegelman, a rabbi tells Vladek he's a "Roh-eh Hanoled", one that sees what the future holds. It is an invention of his or does it exist in any classical or sacred source ?


2 Answers 2


It is not his invention. The phrase appears in the Mishnah in Tractate Avot in Chapter 2 Mishnah #9 or #10 (depending on your version):

אמר להם צאו וראו איזוהי דרך ישרה שידבק בה האדם רבי אליעזר אומר עין טובה רבי יהושע אומר חבר טוב רבי יוסי אומר שכן טוב רבי שמעון אומר הרואה את הנולד רבי אלעזר אומר לב טוב אמר להם רואה אני את דברי אלעזר בן ערך שבכלל דבריו דבריכם

[Rabbi Yochanan] said to them: Go and see which is the best trait for a person to acquire. Said Rabbi Eliezer: A good eye. Said Rabbi Joshua: A good friend. Said Rabbi Yossei: A good neighbor. Said Rabbi Shimon: To see what is born [out of ones actions]. Said Rabbi Elazar: A good heart. Said He to them: I prefer the words of Elazar the son of Arach to yours, for his words include all of yours. (Chabad.org translation; my emphasis)

The bolded phrase transliterated is:

Rabbi Shimon Omer ha'roeh et hanolad

  • 1
    Also Tamid 32a - איזהו חכם הרואה את הנולד
    – DonielF
    Commented Sep 30, 2018 at 22:32
  • @DonielF True, but that's post-Mishnaic.
    – Alex
    Commented Sep 30, 2018 at 22:33
  • 1
    Technically yes, and potentially post-Gemara as well. However, the context is an interaction between the Rabbis and Alexander the Great, placing it earlier than the Mishnah quoted.
    – DonielF
    Commented Sep 30, 2018 at 22:36
  • And why does the Mishna call a midwife a chachamah? Because she's ro'ah es hanolad. (Remind me which Acharon supposedly said this as a child?)
    – Shalom
    Commented Sep 27, 2020 at 12:27

The expression is traced to mishnaic times as mentioned in the other answer. The concept however is older.

See Koheles 2:14

הֶֽחָכָם֙ עֵינָ֣יו בְּרֹאשׁ֔וֹ

A wise man has his eyes in his head

As Rashi there explains:

The wise man, his eyes are in his head. In the beginning [=בְּרֹאשׁוֹ of the matter, he contemplates the end results.

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