At school we are taught that people who are good will go to Heaven and people who are bad will go to Hell. So if this is true, doing good deeds such as charity, fasting and worship of God should be our means of salvation from the Hell fire. And doing bad deeds such as murder, rape and stealing will lead us to the Hell fire. And this makes perfect sense. But I cannot find anything in the scripture about doing good deeds or being righteous men/women to attain salvation. Does anyone know if there is mention of attaining salvation through good deeds or being righteous people in the scripture?

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    Welcome to MiYodeya Asan. Great to have you learn with us!
    – mbloch
    Commented Nov 22, 2018 at 19:05
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    Did you go to a Jewish school? This sounds somewhat like you went to a Christian school
    – Double AA
    Commented Nov 22, 2018 at 19:25
  • See also judaism.stackexchange.com/q/65286/170
    – msh210
    Commented Nov 22, 2018 at 19:27
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    There's no salvation in Judaism, everybody gets a share of the World to come, there's no Hell and no Hellfire. The reward is proportional to one's effort and merit. THat's why it is not mentioned.
    – Al Berko
    Commented Nov 22, 2018 at 19:50
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    @AlBerko That's at best a massive oversimplification. We might not use words like 'Salvation' and 'Hellfire', but there is definitely a concept of Olam Haba and Gehinnom within Judaism. Commented Nov 22, 2018 at 21:30

1 Answer 1


According to Jewish thought, if we fulfill God’s will, we will be rewarded for our efforts, and if we sin against God, we will be punished [1].

"Good deeds" don't cancel bad deeds, and conversely, "bad deeds" don't cancel good deeds [2]. A person is judged for each good deed or misdeed [3].

[1] "Ani Ma'amin" (11).

[2] See Pesachim 118a אין הקב"ה מקפח שכר כל בריה.

[3] See Rambam in "Iggeres HaSmad":

אבל השם יתברך נפרע מבני אדם על החמורות ועל הקלות, ונותן שכר על כל דבר שעושין. על כן צריך האדם לידע, שכל עבירה שיעשה נפרעין ממנו עליה, וכל מצוה שיעשה מקבל עליה שכר

"God punishes people for the severe and the light [sins], and gives reward for everything they do. Therefore, a person must know that for every sin that he commits, payment will be exacted from him, and any mitzvah that he does, he will receive a reward for it."

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    -1. The asker knew about reward and punishment already and was asking only about a scriptural reference therefor. This doesn't answer the question at all.
    – msh210
    Commented Nov 23, 2018 at 6:31
  • That was PART of the question. The question falsely implied, that mere doing good deeds such as charity, fasting and worship of God should be our means of salvation. My answer intended to dispel that erroneous notion. Good deeds earn us reward, but they do not cancel out bad deeds. Commented Nov 23, 2018 at 16:17
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    Quite right, sorry.
    – msh210
    Commented Nov 24, 2018 at 16:42

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