a set of religious and moral teachings in excerpts from the main books of rabbinic literature



When a person is brought before a heavenly court, they ask him: have you traded honestly? Did you have specific hours to study the law? Have you been procreating? Have you hoped for help from above? Have you practiced secular science? Have you been able to draw conclusions from one thing about another? But even with an affirmative answer to these questions, it is good for him only if the fear of God was his treasure, and if not, then it is bad. The court of heaven will treat him like a man who said to his servant: go, bring me a quarter of the wheat to the attic; he went and brought it to him. When the owner, in response to his question, did you mix the wheat with the octopus khomtin12? received in response: no, he said: it would be better if you didn’t bring it at all.

(Shabbat 31a).

The fear of God out of fear of punishment is not particularly dear to the Omnipresent, because a person who has such fear is like a child who is afraid of a whip in the hands of a father or teacher who can punish him. And so, a person who serves the Lord out of fear of punishment does not serve Him at all; but it is necessary that a person serve Him, fearing sin itself, its vileness, and that he be afraid to do anything against the will of God, because he must serve Him, love Him and fulfill all His commandments out of reverence for His greatness. Such fear is fear out of love, just as a faithful friend is afraid to transgress the will of his beloved friend, not in order to avoid punishment, but because he loves his friend and does not want to upset him in any way.

(Mishvat Hahamim 8).