In the beginning...

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With just a few weeks to go until the New Year, you may be wondering about the story behind Rosh Hashanah—what really happened on the very first Rosh Hashanah? As we always say at Sefaria: there's a text for that! Let's start with this midrash that breaks it down, hour by hour.
The First Day and the First Person
בְּיוֹם רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה בְּשָׁעָה רִאשׁוֹנָה עָלָה בַּמַּחֲשָׁבָה, בַּשְּׁנִיָּה נִתְיָעֵץ עִם מַלְאֲכֵי הַשָּׁרֵת, בַּשְּׁלִישִׁית כִּנֵּס עֲפָרוֹ, בָּרְבִיעִית גִּבְּלוֹ, בַּחֲמִישִׁית רִקְּמוֹ, בַּשִּׁשִּׁית עֲשָׂאוֹ גֹּלֶם, בַּשְּׁבִיעִית נָפַח בּוֹ נְשָׁמָה, בַּשְּׁמִינִית הִכְנִיסוֹ לַגָּן, בַּתְּשִׁיעִית נִצְטַוָּה, בָּעֲשִׂירִית עָבַר, בְּאַחַת עֶשְׂרֵה נִדּוֹן, בִּשְׁתֵּים עֶשְׂרֵה יָצָא בְּדִימוּס. אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְאָדָם, זֶה סִימָן לְבָנֶיךָ כְּשֵׁם שֶׁעָמַדְתָּ לְפָנַי בַּדִּין הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה וְיָצָאתָ בְּדִימוּס, כָּךְ עֲתִידִין בָּנֶיךָ לַעֲמֹד לְפָנַי בַּדִּין בְּיוֹם זֶה וְיוֹצְאִין לְפָנַי בְּדִימוּס, אֵימָתַי בַּחֹדֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִיעִי בְּאֶחָד לַחֹדֶשׁ.
On Rosh Hashanah, in the first hour, it arose in God's mind [to create humanity]. In the second hour, God took counsel with the ministering angels. In the third hour, God gathered up dust. In the fourth hour, God kneaded it. In the fifth hour, God shaped it. In the sixth hour, God made a golem. In the seventh hour, God breathed a soul into it. In the eighth hour, God brought him to the Garden of Eden. In the ninth hour, God commanded him [regarding the Tree of Knowledge]. In the tenth hour, Adam transgressed. In the eleventh hour, he was judged. In the twelfth hour, he was pardoned.

The Holy Blessed One said to Adam: "This is a sign for your descendants, that just as you stood before me in judgement on this day and were pardoned, so too in the future, they will stand before me in judgement on this day and will be pardoned, on the first day of the seventh month (Rosh Hashanah)."

This story can be a reminder that we are all children of the first human being: all of us connected to each other on this day. And, like Adam, we may run afoul of what we're supposed to do but, in the end, we can always seek pardon.

May we all be inscribed in the Book of Life,

Team Sefaria
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