1

I am searching for sources for the concept that a Jew keeping the Mitzvot will ultimately bring blessing to / not keeping the Mitzvot will bring destruction to:

A) himself/herself

B) the Jewish nation

C) the entire humanity

2

Mishan Kiddushin 39b (there's a long Gemmorah also @Kiddushin 29):

כל העושה מצוה אחת מטיבין לו ומאריכין לו ימיו ונוחל את הארץ
וכל שאינו עושה מצוה אחת אין מטיבין לו ואין מאריכין לו ימיו ואינו נוחל את הארץ:

MISHNA: Anyone who performs one mitzva has goodness bestowed upon him, his life is lengthened, and he inherits the land, i.e., life in the World-to-Come. And anyone who does not perform one mitzva does not have goodness bestowed upon him, his life is not lengthened, and he does not inherit the land of the World-to-Come.

To jump straight into Rambam (Hil Teshuvah 3, based on Mishnah in Avot)

לְפִיכָךְ צָרִיךְ כָּל אָדָם שֶׁיִּרְאֶה עַצְמוֹ כָּל הַשָּׁנָה כֻּלָּהּ כְּאִלּוּ חֶצְיוֹ זַכַּאי וְחֶצְיוֹ חַיָּב.
וְכֵן כָּל הָעוֹלָם חֶצְיוֹ זַכַּאי וְחֶצְיוֹ חַיָּב.
חָטָא חֵטְא אֶחָד הֲרֵי הִכְרִיעַ אֶת עַצְמוֹ וְאֶת כָּל הָעוֹלָם כֻּלּוֹ לְכַף חוֹבָה וְגָרַם לוֹ הַשְׁחָתָה.
עָשָׂה מִצְוָה אַחַת הֲרֵי הִכְרִיעַ אֶת עַצְמוֹ וְאֶת כָּל הָעוֹלָם כֻּלּוֹ לְכַף זְכוּת
וְגָרַם לוֹ וְלָהֶם תְּשׁוּעָה וְהַצָּלָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (משלי י כה) "וְצַדִּיק יְסוֹד עוֹלָם" זֶה שֶׁצָּדַק הִכְרִיעַ אֶת כָּל הָעוֹלָם לִזְכוּת וְהִצִּילוֹ.

It is, therefore, necessary for every man to behold himself throughout the whole year in a light of being evenly balanced between innocence and guilt, and look upon the entire world as if evenly balanced between innocence and guilt; thus, if he commits one sin, he will overbalance himself and the whole world to the side of guilt, and be a cause of its destruction; but if he perform one duty, behold, he will overbalance himself and the whole world to the side of virtue, and bring about his own and their salvation and escape, even as it is said: "But the righteous is an everlasting foundation" (Prov. 10. 25), it is he, by whose righteousness he overbalanced the whole world to virtue and saved it.

2

A) himself/herself

This is a common theme in many places in the Bible. To quote some:

The first source that comes to mind is Deuteronomy 11:13-17 (translation from links):

וְהָיָ֗ה אִם־שָׁמֹ֤עַ תִּשְׁמְעוּ֙ אֶל־מִצְוֺתַ֔י אֲשֶׁ֧ר אָנֹכִ֛י מְצַוֶּ֥ה אֶתְכֶ֖ם הַיּ֑וֹם לְאַהֲבָ֞ה אֶת־יְהוָ֤ה אֱלֹֽהֵיכֶם֙ וּלְעָבְד֔וֹ בְּכָל־לְבַבְכֶ֖ם וּבְכָל־נַפְשְׁכֶֽם׃ וְנָתַתִּ֧י מְטַֽר־אַרְצְכֶ֛ם בְּעִתּ֖וֹ יוֹרֶ֣ה וּמַלְק֑וֹשׁ וְאָסַפְתָּ֣ דְגָנֶ֔ךָ וְתִֽירֹשְׁךָ֖ וְיִצְהָרֶֽךָ׃ וְנָתַתִּ֛י עֵ֥שֶׂב בְּשָׂדְךָ֖ לִבְהֶמְתֶּ֑ךָ וְאָכַלְתָּ֖ וְשָׂבָֽעְתָּ׃ הִשָּֽׁמְר֣וּ לָכֶ֔ם פֶּ֥ן יִפְתֶּ֖ה לְבַבְכֶ֑ם וְסַרְתֶּ֗ם וַעֲבַדְתֶּם֙ אֱלֹהִ֣ים אֲחֵרִ֔ים וְהִשְׁתַּחֲוִיתֶ֖ם לָהֶֽם׃ וְחָרָ֨ה אַף־יְהוָ֜ה בָּכֶ֗ם וְעָצַ֤ר אֶת־הַשָּׁמַ֙יִם֙ וְלֹֽא־יִהְיֶ֣ה מָטָ֔ר וְהָ֣אֲדָמָ֔ה לֹ֥א תִתֵּ֖ן אֶת־יְבוּלָ֑הּ וַאֲבַדְתֶּ֣ם מְהֵרָ֗ה מֵעַל֙ הָאָ֣רֶץ הַטֹּבָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר יְהוָ֖ה נֹתֵ֥ן לָכֶֽם׃

If, then, you obey the commandments that I enjoin upon you this day, loving the LORD your God and serving Him with all your heart and soul, I will grant the rain for your land in season, the early rain and the late. You shall gather in your new grain and wine and oil— I will also provide grass in the fields for your cattle—and thus you shall eat your fill. Take care not to be lured away to serve other gods and bow to them. For the LORD’s anger will flare up against you, and He will shut up the skies so that there will be no rain and the ground will not yield its produce; and you will soon perish from the good land that the LORD is assigning to you.

Many other sources contrast the fate of the righteous with the wicked, such as Isaiah 3:10-11:

אִמְר֥וּ צַדִּ֖יק כִּי־ט֑וֹב כִּֽי־פְרִ֥י מַעַלְלֵיהֶ֖ם יֹאכֵֽלוּ׃ א֖וֹי לְרָשָׁ֣ע רָ֑ע כִּֽי־גְמ֥וּל יָדָ֖יו יֵעָ֥שֶׂה לּֽוֹ׃

Hail the just man, for he shall fare well;
He shall eat the fruit of his works.
Woe to the wicked man, for he shall fare ill;
As his hands have dealt, so shall it be done to him.

Other sources: Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 28; Psalms 1, 92:10-16.

From the rabbis, Avot 5:19 contrasts the fate of Abraham's students with Balaam's students: the students of eat in this world and inherit the next world, but the students of Balaam inherit hell and go down to the pit of destruction.

B) the jewish nation

Some of the above sources might also apply here. For example, Deuteronomy 11:13-17 is phrased in the plural, and the blessings and curses of Leviticus 26 are also against the entire nation. The Bible also describes the land (i.e., Israel) as becoming defiled in response to not keeping the commandments, as in Isaiah 24:5:

וְהָאָ֥רֶץ חָֽנְפָ֖ה תַּ֣חַת יֹֽשְׁבֶ֑יהָ כִּֽי־עָבְר֤וּ תוֹרֹת֙ חָ֣לְפוּ חֹ֔ק הֵפֵ֖רוּ בְּרִ֥ית עוֹלָֽם׃ עַל־כֵּ֗ן אָלָה֙ אָ֣כְלָה אֶ֔רֶץ וַֽיֶּאְשְׁמ֖וּ יֹ֣שְׁבֵי בָ֑הּ עַל־כֵּ֗ן חָרוּ֙ יֹ֣שְׁבֵי אֶ֔רֶץ וְנִשְׁאַ֥ר אֱנ֖וֹשׁ מִזְעָֽר׃

For the land was defiled
Under its inhabitants;
Because they transgressed teachings,
Violated laws,
Broke the ancient covenant.
That is why a curse consumes the land,
And its inhabitants pay the penalty;
That is why land’s dwellers have dwindled,
And but few men are left.1

From the rabbis (Rashi, Leviticus 26:37, from Sifra and Sanhedrin 27b):

וְכָשְׁלוּ אִישׁ בְּאָחִיו, זֶה נִכְשָׁל בַּעֲוֹנוֹ שֶׁל זֶה, שֶׁכָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל עֲרֵבִין זֶה לָזֶה

one will stumble by reason of the sin of the other, for all Israelites are held responsible for one another.

C) the entire humanity

I can't think of a source for this in the Bible, but in Kiddushin 40a-b it says (in connection to the passage that Al Berko quoted):

ת"ר לעולם יראה אדם עצמו כאילו חציו חייב וחציו זכאי עשה מצוה אחת אשריו שהכריע עצמו לכף זכות עבר עבירה אחת אוי לו שהכריע את עצמו לכף חובה שנאמר (קהלת ט, יח) וחוטא אחד יאבד טובה הרבה בשביל חטא יחידי שחטא אובד ממנו טובות הרבה ר' אלעזר בר' שמעון אומר לפי שהעולם נידון אחר רובו והיחיד נידון אחר רובו עשה מצוה אחת אשריו שהכריע את עצמו ואת כל העולם לכף זכות עבר עבירה אחת אוי לו שהכריע את עצמו ואת כל העולם לכף חובה שנאמר וחוטא אחד כו' בשביל חטא יחידי שעשה זה אבד ממנו ומכל העולם טובה הרבה

The sages taught: Always 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.

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.


1 I changed the translation of הָאָרֶץ to land instead of earth throughout the paragraph, in keeping with the meaning of other accounts of the corruption of the land such as Numbers 35:33, where the land of Israel is clearly meant, not the entire earth.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .