I read in Real Power on page 47, the following:

“If you are not going upward then you are automatically falling downward.” —Chazal

Does anyone know if this is a Gemara or Medrash etc.?


2 Answers 2


One place this is mentioned is the Chafetz Chaim's Toras HaBayis (ch. 10). The Chafetz Chaim notes the symbolism in how the angels on the ladder in Ya'akov's dream were either ascending or descending but could not remain static on the same level (B'reishis 28:12).

The Chafetz Chaim generically cites "the holy sefarim" for this interpretation of the verse, but he expands on the concept at length.

  • The fact that he appeals to the "holy sefarim" implies that the source is not in Chazal.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Jul 12, 2015 at 19:46
  • @mevaqesh Probably true (though it's not a guarantee). This explanation of the pasuk most likely does not trace all the way back to Chazal, but I do often hear it associated with this idea. Anyway, I often see contemporary books cite "Chazal" for a concept that originated later, so maybe that's the case in the OP.
    – Fred
    Commented Jul 12, 2015 at 20:00
  • @mevaqesh possibly could be of the early kabbalistic sefarim, like the Zohar, which are written in large part by Tannaim...
    – gt6989b
    Commented Jul 13, 2015 at 4:04

Here's my guess from Maseches Avos.

פרק א - משנה יג וּדְלָא מוֹסִיף, יָסֵיף The Bartenura explains

ודלא מוסיף. מי שאינו מוסיף על לימודו: יסיף. יסוף מפיו מה שכבר למד וישכח תלמודו.

Whoever doesn't add to his learning will forget what he already learnt.

  • What does remembering Torah have to do with the question?
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Jul 12, 2015 at 19:46
  • It's a statement about the lack of a status quo.
    – user6591
    Commented Jul 12, 2015 at 20:09

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