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Friday, Iyar 12, 5782 (27th day of the Omer)/ May 13, 2022


One of the timeless lessons our sages gave us is found in the Pirkei Avot (Chapters of our Fathers), which we recite every year during the summer months.  Although these lessons were recorded over fifteen hundred years ago, they are as valid and practical today as they were then. 


One of the many teachings in Pirkei Avot is the following: “Rabbi Eliezer ben Yaakov said, ‘He who fulfills one mitzvah acquires for himself one advocate, and he who commits one transgression acquires against himself one accuser. Repentance and good deeds are like a shield against retribution.’”


Rabbi Eliezer teaches us here the importance of even one mitzvah – one good deed, and the gravity of even one sin. 


One shouldn’t say, “What’s the benefit of doing one mitzvah, when all my life I haven’t done any mitzvot? Or what is the benefit of attending synagogue one time when I don’t attend it regularly? What is the benefit of putting on Tefillin one time when I don’t do it every day?


Rabbi Eliezer tells us that we should not minimize the importance of even ONE mitzvah.  For every mitzvah we do, even a single mitzvah, we acquire for ourselves a good advocate in heaven, which can make a big difference in our favor. 


By the same token, one shouldn’t say, “If I have done so many mitzvot what harm can it be if I commit only one sin?  Here too, tells us Rabbi Eliezer that even one sin can create an accuser in heaven who works against us.


Our sages say that the proper way to view the importance of a mitzvah and the gravity of a sin is as follows: “Every person should at all times view the world as being on a perfectly balanced scale. Every deed we do, even if seemingly a small deed, will tip the balance of the scale one way or another.


If we do a mitzvah, then the universal scale tips to the good side and blessings will flow to us and the world.  But if one performs a sin, the scale gets tipped to the negative side. 


Here we see the importance of even a single mitzvah.  What even one good deed can accomplish.


According to our sages, every mitzvah we perform is a form of tzedakah-charity. 


Just like through tzedakah-charity we help someone who needs our help, so too, with every mitzvah we do we are performing a charitable deed, for it is not only beneficial to ourselves, but also to the whole world. May we merit to do as many mitzvot as possible, but we should not undermine the importance of even one single mitzvah, for it may be that very mitzvah which will tip the scale for blessings and good.




Montreal candle lighting time: 7:58 / Shabbat ends: 9:10