3. The Judgement of Rosh Hashanah

This article is an excerpt from our Sefer

Buy me here or on Amazon.com

3. The judgment of Rosh Hashanah

A. The judgment on all one’s future for the coming year:

All creations are judged on Rosh Hashanah.[1] Everyone is judged on Rosh Hashanah and their decree is sealed on Yom Kippur.[2] Even the angels are judged on this day.[3] The amount of love and fear of G-d that a Jew will have for the coming year is judged on Rosh Hashanah.[4]

B. King versus dictator:[5]

On Rosh Hashanah we are judged in whether Hashem will be our King or our dictator. Hashem judges whether one has accepted His kingship willingly or out of force. Does the person enjoy serving Him or does he despise it. This affects how Hashem will reveal Himself to the individual Jew for that coming year, as a beloved King or in the concealed manner of a ruler. 


C. The difference in judgment between the first and second day of Rosh Hashanah:[6]

Some people are judged on the first day of Rosh Hashanah while others are judged on the second day. The first day of Rosh Hashanah is a harsh judgment. The second day is a merciful judgment. Those souls that Hashem desires to have mercy on, He judges on the second day. A person is able to know on which day he is being judged by noticing on which day he feels an urge for bitter crying. If he has a crying outburst on the first day it is a sign that his soul is being judged at that time. If he has an outburst on the second day it is a sign that he is being judged on the second day.

D. When does the writing and sealing of the decree take place?

*See chapter 5 Halacha 8C for further details on this matter.

The writing for Tzaddikim takes place within the first three hours of the first day of Rosh Hashanah.[7] The conclusion of the writing takes place on the second day of Rosh Hashanah by midday.[8] Regarding the sealing of the decree some Poskim[9] write that for Tzaddikim it takes place on the first day of Rosh Hashanah. Others write even Tzaddikim are only sealed on Yom Kippur.[10]

The Rebbe’s father:[11] The general writing and sealing of the decree takes place on the night of Rosh Hashanah and it is only the details of the decree that are finally sealed on Yom Kippur. This general writing and sealing of the decree takes place on the night of Rosh Hashanah even before Tekias Shofar, although its completion in a way of kindness and mercy is accomplished through Tekias Shofar which marks the conclusion of the writing.


E. The effect of the decree on Rosh Hashanah and why we still Daven every day:[12]

There is a famous question, discussed also in classical Talmudic commentators[13], regarding the entire concept of daily prayer. We all know that all of our future occurrences are decreed on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. What purpose is there then in praying daily for matters that have already been decided? This enters us into an interesting dialogue with regards to what in truth the decree of Rosh Hashanah effects and how it still leaves room for daily prayer of those matters that were decreed.

Understanding how G-dly blessing descends to this world: All blessing that reaches this world in general and an individual person in particular, is rooted in G-dliness, Oar Ein Sof. It is the G-dliness that descends which eventually become the blessing that we experience. However, this G-dliness, while still in the world of Atzilus is of a very sublime and abstract level which, on that level, cannot be transformed to any real tangible form of blessing that mortals of this world can experience or understand. In order for this Divine revelation of G-dly blessing to be transformed to tangible physical blessing the revelation must descend many levels through the chambers of the worlds of Beria, Yetzira and Asiya. This descent causes the G-dly revelation to become coarse enough to be expressed as a matter of kindness in the physical realm to heal the sick, and give one sustenance. Based on this one can understand the decree of Rosh Hashanah and the necessity for daily prayer.

Rosh Hashanah-A sublime blessing; Daily prayer-Transforms the sublime to physical blessing:[14] On Rosh Hashanah each individual is blessed with a certain amount of G-dly revelation of blessing. However, this revelation takes place only in the world of Atzilus, and it remains there in a spiritual state. Every day there is a particular judgment placed on the person in whether he is befitting to receive this Divine blessing in a physical expression of blessing in this world. Is he befitting today to have the Divine blessing allotted to his soul on Rosh Hashanah make its descent through each world until it transforms to physical blessing below? Or perhaps he is not befitting of such, and thus the Divine revelation of blessing will remain above in Atzilus and will be received by him as Divine pleasure in Gan Eden. This then is the meaning behind daily prayer, it bequests G-d to send us our allotted blessing that we should see its fruition in the physical world.

Understanding the opinions in the Gemara:[15] Based on the above the following Talmudic dispute can be understood. The Gemara [R”H 8a] states that there is a dispute between the Chachamim and Rebbe Yossi with regards to when man is judged. The Chachamim say man is judged once a year on Rosh Hashanah. Rebbe Yossi states that man is judged daily. Now one must say that both agree there is a yearly and daily judgment as even Rebbe Yossi agrees that Rosh Hashanah is the annual Day of Judgment and even the Chachamim agree there is a need to pray daily. Based on the above everything is understood. The spiritual blessing is drawn down on Rosh Hashanah, and this what the Chachamim emphasize in their opinion, while the transformation into the physical occurs through the daily judgment, and this is what is emphasized by Rebbe Yossi, and hence there is no dispute.

 A parable:

One had money transferred to his bank. In order to remove the money from the bank he requires a debit card. The bank of money is the spiritual blessing that every soul is allocated on Rosh Hashanah. The daily prayer is the “debit card” which allows one to cash the money and use it for physical sustenance.



[1] Mishneh in Tractate Rosh Hashanah 16a “The world is judged on four periods during the year”

[2] Braisa in R”H 16a

[3] Mamar Kinyan Hachaim p.4

[4] See Likkutei Torah p. 32 Mamar of Ani Ledodi

[5] See Likkutei Torah Devarim; R”H p. 106

[6] Shaar Hakavanos 90a; brought in Beir Heiytiv 584:3; Mateh Efraim 582:28; Kaf Hachaim 582:60

[7] Levush brought in Taz 582:4

[8] Admur 582:17

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule the writing is completed on the first day. [Levush 596 [brought in Taz ibid]; Elya Raba 596:2; simple understanding of M”A 582:8 which is going on the Levush]

[9] Asara Mamaros Mamar Chikur Hadin 2:10, brought in M”A 582:8; Levushei Serud ibid; Gra ibid; Admur 582:17

[10] M.T. brought in M”A 582:8; Ran on Rosh Hashanah 16b; Admur in Siddur rules to say “Tichaseim” on first night.

[11] Likkutei Levi Yitzchak Igros Kodesh  p. 210, brought in Sefer Hasichos 1991 Vol. 1 p. 37

[12] Likkutei Torah Korach p. 55b

[13] Tosafus Shabbos 12b; R”H 16a

[14] For further details on this subject see Kuntrus Umayan 17:25

[15] For further details on this subject see Likkutei Sichos 9:375; See also Sefer Chassidim 763; M”A 591:9; Kaf Hachaim 591:37

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles

Leave A Comment?

You must be logged in to post a comment.