יִרְאֶה אָדָם עַצְמוֹ כְּאִילּוּ חֶצְיוֹ חַיָּיב וְחֶצְיוֹ זַכַּאי עָשָׂה מִצְוָה אַחַת אַשְׁרָיו שֶׁהִכְרִיעַ עַצְמוֹ לְכַף זְכוּת עָבַר עֲבֵירָה אַחַת אוֹי לוֹ שֶׁהִכְרִיעַ אֶת עַצְמוֹ לְכַף חוֹבָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וְחוֹטֶא אֶחָד יְאַבֵּד טוֹבָה הַרְבֵּה בִּשְׁבִיל חֵטְא יְחִידִי שֶׁחָטָא אוֹבֵד מִמֶּנּוּ טוֹבוֹת הַרְבֵּה a person should view himself as though he were exactly half-liable and half-meritorious. In other words he should act as though the plates of his scale are balanced, so that if he performs one mitzva he is fortunate, as he tilts his balance to the scale of merit. If he transgresses one prohibition, woe to him, as he tilts his balance to the scale of liability, as it is stated: “But one sin destroys much good” (Ecclesiastes 9:18), which means that due to one sin that a person transgresses he squanders much good.
רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר בְּרַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן אוֹמֵר לְפִי שֶׁהָעוֹלָם נִידּוֹן אַחַר רוּבּוֹ וְהַיָּחִיד נִידּוֹן אַחַר רוּבּוֹ עָשָׂה מִצְוָה אַחַת אַשְׁרָיו שֶׁהִכְרִיעַ אֶת עַצְמוֹ וְאֶת כָּל הָעוֹלָם לְכַף זְכוּת עָבַר עֲבֵירָה אַחַת אוֹי לוֹ שֶׁהִכְרִיעַ אֶת עַצְמוֹ וְאֶת כָּל הָעוֹלָם לְכַף חוֹבָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וְחוֹטֵא אֶחָד כּוּ' בִּשְׁבִיל חֵטְא יְחִידִי שֶׁעָשָׂה זֶה אָבַד מִמֶּנּוּ וּמִכׇּל הָעוֹלָם טוֹבָה הַרְבֵּה Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon, says: Since the world is judged by its majority, i.e., depending on whether people have performed a majority of mitzvot or a majority of sins, and an individual is likewise judged by his majority, each person must consider that if he performs one mitzva he is praiseworthy, as he tilts the balance of himself and the entire world to the scale of merit. Conversely, if he transgresses one prohibition, woe to him, as he tilts the balance for himself and the entire world to the scale of liability, as it is stated: “But one sin destroys much good,” i.e., due to one sin that this individual commits, he squanders much goodness from himself and from the entire world.
רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן יוֹחַי אוֹמֵר אֲפִילּוּ צַדִּיק גָּמוּר כׇּל יָמָיו וּמָרַד בָּאַחֲרוֹנָה אִיבֵּד אֶת הָרִאשׁוֹנוֹת שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר צִדְקַת הַצַּדִּיק לֹא תַצִּילֶנּוּ בְּיוֹם פִּשְׁעוֹ וַאֲפִילּוּ רָשָׁע גָּמוּר כׇּל יָמָיו וְעָשָׂה תְּשׁוּבָה בָּאַחֲרוֹנָה אֵין מַזְכִּירִים לוֹ שׁוּב רִשְׁעוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וְרִשְׁעַת הָרָשָׁע לֹא יִכָּשֶׁל בָּהּ בְּיוֹם שׁוּבוֹ מֵרִשְׁעוֹ Rabbi Shimon ben Yoḥai says: Even if one was completely righteous all his life and he rebelled by sinning at the end of his life, he loses his early merit, as it is stated: “The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him on the day of his transgression” (Ezekiel 33:12). And similarly, even if one was completely wicked all his life and repented in the end, he is no longer reminded of his wickedness, as it is stated in the continuation of the verse: “And as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not stumble over it on the day that he turns from his wickedness.”
וְנִיהְוֵי כְּמֶחֱצָה עֲוֹנוֹת וּמֶחֱצָה זְכִיּוֹת אָמַר רֵישׁ לָקִישׁ בְּתוֹהֶא עַל הָרִאשׁוֹנוֹת The Gemara asks: But an individual who performed mitzvot all of his life and then sins should at least be like one whose acts have been half sins and half merits, i.e., each should be of equal weight. Why, then, is he pronounced guilty? Reish Lakish said: This is not referring to an individual who has merely sinned but to one who regrets all the initial mitzvot he performed in the past. In this case the mitzvot he performed are not taken into account.
מַתְנִי' כֹּל שֶׁיֶּשְׁנוֹ בַּמִּקְרָא וּבַמִּשְׁנָה וּבְדֶרֶךְ אֶרֶץ לֹא בִּמְהֵרָה הוּא חוֹטֵא שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וְהַחוּט הַמְשֻׁלָּשׁ לֹא בִמְהֵרָה יִנָּתֵק וְכֹל שֶׁאֵינוֹ לֹא בַּמִּקְרָא וְלֹא בַּמִּשְׁנָה וְלֹא בְּדֶרֶךְ אֶרֶץ אֵינוֹ מִן הַיִּישּׁוּב MISHNA: Anyone who is engaged in the study of Bible, and in the study of Mishna, and in the desired mode of behavior, i.e., he performs labor and generally acts in an appropriate manner, will not be quick to sin, as it is stated: “And a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12). One who is involved in all three of these activities will not sin easily. And anyone who does not engage in the study of Bible, nor the study of Mishna, nor the desired mode of behavior, is not part of society, i.e., he is not considered a civilized person at all.
גְּמָ' אָמַר רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר בְּרַבִּי צָדוֹק לְמָה צַדִּיקִים נִמְשָׁלִים בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה לְאִילָן שֶׁכּוּלּוֹ עוֹמֵד בִּמְקוֹם טׇהֳרָה וְנוֹפוֹ נוֹטֶה לִמְקוֹם טוּמְאָה נִקְצַץ נוֹפוֹ כּוּלּוֹ עוֹמֵד בִּמְקוֹם טׇהֳרָה כָּךְ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מֵבִיא יִסּוּרִים עַל צַדִּיקִים בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּירְשׁוּ הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וְהָיָה רֵאשִׁיתְךָ מִצְעָר וְאַחֲרִיתְךָ יִשְׂגֶּה מְאֹד GEMARA: Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Tzadok, says: To what are the righteous in this world compared? To a tree that is standing entirely in a pure place and its branches hang over an impure place. If its branches are cut, it will stand entirely in a pure place. So too, the Holy One, Blessed be He, brings afflictions upon the righteous in this world to cleanse them of their few sins. He makes them suffer so that they will inherit the World-to-Come entirely, as it is stated: “And your beginning was in pain, your end shall greatly increase” (Job 8:7).
וּלְמָה רְשָׁעִים דּוֹמִים בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה לְאִילָן שֶׁכּוּלּוֹ עוֹמֵד בִּמְקוֹם טוּמְאָה וְנוֹפוֹ נוֹטֶה לִמְקוֹם טׇהֳרָה נִקְצַץ נוֹפוֹ כּוּלּוֹ עוֹמֵד בִּמְקוֹם טוּמְאָה כָּךְ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מְשַׁפֵּיעַ לָהֶן טוֹבָה לָרְשָׁעִים בְּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה כְּדֵי לְטוֹרְדָן וּלְהוֹרִישָׁן לְמַדְרֵיגָה הַתַּחְתּוֹנָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר יֵשׁ דֶּרֶךְ יָשָׁר לִפְנֵי אִישׁ וְאַחֲרִיתָהּ דַּרְכֵי מָוֶת And to what are the wicked in this world compared? To a tree that stands entirely in an impure place and whose branches hang over a pure place. If its branches are cut off, it stands entirely in an impure place. So too, the Holy One, Blessed be He, bestows good upon the wicked in this world for the few mitzvot they have performed, in order to expel them and banish them to the lowest level of Gehenna in the future, as it is stated: “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12).
וּכְבָר הָיָה רַבִּי טַרְפוֹן וּזְקֵנִים מְסוּבִּין בַּעֲלִיַּת בֵּית נַתְּזָה בְּלוֹד נִשְׁאֲלָה שְׁאֵילָה זוֹ בִּפְנֵיהֶם תַּלְמוּד גָּדוֹל אוֹ מַעֲשֶׂה גָּדוֹל נַעֲנָה רַבִּי טַרְפוֹן וְאָמַר מַעֲשֶׂה גָּדוֹל נַעֲנָה רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא וְאָמַר תַּלְמוּד גָּדוֹל נַעֲנוּ כּוּלָּם וְאָמְרוּ תַּלְמוּד גָּדוֹל שֶׁהַתַּלְמוּד מֵבִיא לִידֵי מַעֲשֶׂה In connection to the mishna’s statement about the importance of Torah study, the Gemara relates the following incident: And there already was an incident in which Rabbi Tarfon and the Elders were reclining in the loft of the house of Nit’za in Lod, when this question was asked of them: Is study greater or is action greater? Rabbi Tarfon answered and said: Action is greater. Rabbi Akiva answered and said: Study is greater. Everyone answered and said: Study is greater, but not as an independent value; rather, it is greater as study leads to action.
תַּנְיָא רַבִּי יוֹסֵי אוֹמֵר גָּדוֹל תַּלְמוּד שֶׁקָּדַם לְחַלָּה אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה לִתְרוּמוֹת וּלְמַעַשְׂרוֹת חֲמִשִּׁים וְאַרְבַּע לִשְׁמִיטִּים שִׁשִּׁים וְאַחַת לְיוֹבְלוֹת מֵאָה וְשָׁלֹשׁ It is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Yosei says: Torah study is greater, as it preceded the mitzva of separating ḥalla by forty years. The Torah was given to the Jewish people soon after they left Egypt, whereas the mitzva of separating ḥalla came into effect only after they entered Eretz Yisrael. And it preceded the mitzva of terumot and tithes by fifty-four years, as the Jews become obligated in these mitzvot only fourteen years after they entered Eretz Yisrael, once they had conquered and divided the land. Furthermore, the Torah preceded the observance of Sabbatical Years by sixty-one years, as they began to count the seven-year cycle only once they had divided the land. Finally, it preceded the Jubilee Years by 103 years, as the fifty-year count to the first Jubilee Year began only after they had divided Eretz Yisrael.
מֵאָה וְשָׁלֹשׁ מֵאָה וְאַרְבַּע הָוְיָין קָסָבַר יוֹבֵל מִתְּחִילָּתוֹ הוּא מְשַׁמֵּט The Gemara asks: Why does the baraita state 103 years? It was actually 104 years. If one adds fifty to the fifty-four years that passed before the Jews began fulfilling the mitzvot dependent on the land, one arrives at a total of 104. The Gemara answers: This tanna maintains that the Jubilee Year releases slaves and returns fields to their original owners from the start of the year. Therefore, 103 years passed before the mitzva of the Jubilee Year took effect.
וּכְשֵׁם שֶׁהַלִּימּוּד קוֹדֵם לְמַעֲשֶׂה כָּךְ דִּינוֹ קוֹדֵם לְמַעֲשֶׂה כִּדְרַב הַמְנוּנָא דְּאָמַר רַב הַמְנוּנָא אֵין תְּחִילַּת דִּינוֹ שֶׁל אָדָם אֶלָּא עַל דִּבְרֵי תוֹרָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר פּוֹטֵר מַיִם רֵאשִׁית מָדוֹן And just as study comes before action, i.e., the mitzva of Torah study takes precedence over other mitzvot, so too, the judgment concerning Torah study precedes the judgment for an action of the performance of a mitzva. This is in accordance with the statement of Rav Hamnuna, as Rav Hamnuna says: The beginning of a person’s judgment is only concerning matters of Torah, as it is stated: “The beginning of judgment is as one lets out water” (Proverbs 17:14). This is understood to refer to the sin of neglecting Torah, as the Torah is compared to water, which brings life to the world.
וּכְשֵׁם שֶׁדִּינוֹ קוֹדֵם לְמַעֲשֶׂה כָּךְ שְׂכָרוֹ קוֹדֵם לְמַעֲשֶׂה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וַיִּתֵּן לָהֶם אַרְצוֹת גּוֹיִם וַעֲמַל לְאֻמִּים יִירָשׁוּ בַּעֲבוּר יִשְׁמְרוּ חֻקָּיו וְתוֹרֹתָיו יִנְצֹרוּ And just as the judgment concerning Torah study precedes the judgment for an action of the performance of a mitzva, so too does the reward for Torah study precede the reward for an action of the performance of a mitzva, as it is stated: “And He gave them the lands of nations, and they took the labor of peoples in possession, that they might observe His statutes and protect His laws” (Psalms 105:44–45). The first reward is for observing the statutes, and as explained on 37a, this is a reference to Torah study.
כֹּל שֶׁאֵינוֹ לֹא בַּמִּקְרָא וְלֹא בַּמִּשְׁנָה אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן וּפָסוּל לְעֵדוּת תָּנוּ רַבָּנַן הָאוֹכֵל בַּשּׁוּק הֲרֵי זֶה דּוֹמֶה לְכֶלֶב וְיֵשׁ אוֹמְרִים פָּסוּל לְעֵדוּת אָמַר רַבִּי אִידִי בַּר אָבִין הֲלָכָה כְּיֵשׁ אוֹמְרִים § The mishna teaches that anyone who does not engage in the study of Bible, nor the study of Mishna, nor the desired mode of behavior, is not part of society. Rabbi Yoḥanan says: And he is disqualified from bearing witness, as this individual cannot be trusted. The Sages taught: One who eats in the marketplace is comparable to a dog, as he disrespects himself through his lack of embarrassment over eating in public. And some say he is even disqualified from bearing witness. Rabbi Idi bar Avin said: The halakha is in accordance with the opinion cited in the name of: Some say.
דָּרַשׁ בַּר קַפָּרָא רַגְזָן Similarly, bar Kappara taught: An angry person