“Who has the most credits in the Bank of Heaven?” the rebbi asked his students.
“Moshe Rabbeinu!” several children responded quickly.
“Correct!” the rebbi said. “Who can tell me why?”
“Because he brought down the Torah from Shamayim,” one boy said.
“Okay,” said the rebbi, “that’s one whole mitzvah. How can you be sure that no one did more mitzvot than he did?”
Suddenly, the classroom was quiet. All the children stared at the rebbi, eagerly anticipating his answer.
“Hashem is very generous. When He calculates a person’s merits, He counts all that the person himself accomplished — but then He adds all the deeds that were caused by a person’s behavior,” the rebbi explained. “In business, it’s called a pyramid. The point at the top is the person and all the bricks below are the deeds he caused. Since Moshe Rabbeinu gave the Torah to all of us, all mitzvot go on his account.”
Every one of us has the opportunity to perform mitzvot. A person may also cause good deeds to be done by others. Some teach directly, as mentor to student. Others may influence others by behaving in an admirable way, causing a desire to emulate. The causative credits have the potential to far outnumber the actual credits one can amass in a single lifetime. The basis for this “fringe benefit” of good behavior is the ripple effect one creates. The deeds of the influenced are seen Above as a continuation of the initial good deed. This is not limited to an immediate effect but may span many future generations. If someone influences another, all good deeds that the person produces are credited to the one who influenced him/her to follow the right path. This includes the deeds of one’s offspring. Hashem counts the fruits and seeds of a deed ad infinitum.
One More Second: Another Thought for the Day
Sadness is a root cause of many faults. It leads to a person’s being too lazy to study Torah and fulfill mitzvot. Sadness comes from feeling that one lacks worldly possessions, or is a result of the suffering that he has experienced. When a person is sad, he fails to take pleasure in what he has. (Rav Chaim Vital, Shaarei Kedushah, 1:2)
Rabbi Raymond Beyda serves in the Sephardic Community in Brooklyn, N.Y. He lectures to audiences all over the world. He has distributed over 500,000 recorded lessons free of charge. He is author of the book 1 Minute With Yourself: A Minute a Day to Self-Improvement, Sephardic Press, 2008.