- מחשבה טובה הקב"ה מצרפה למעשה
It was taught in a Baraisa: מחשבה טובה הקב"ה מצרפה למעשה – Hashem considers a good thought as a deed (as if the person did it). Rav Assi explained, based on the words of the passuk "ולחושבי שמו" – and those think about His Name: אפילו חשב אדם לעשות מצוה – even if a person contemplated performing a mitzvah, ונאנס ולא עשאה – and was prevented from performing it, מעלה עליו הכתוב כאילו עשאה – the Torah considers it as if he performed it. The Baraisa continues: מחשבה רעה אין הקדוש ברוך הוא מצרפה למעשה – Hashem does not consider a bad thought as a deed. Although a passuk does describe Hashem punishing for "פרי מחשבותם" – the fruit of their sinful thoughts, this means a thought which “bears fruit” (i.e., brings to sinful action). Alternatively, it refers to one who commits a sin repeatedly, until it seems permitted to him, in which case he is punished for his thought to commit the sin. The Gemara also says that one is punished for thought to worship idols.
- לעולם יראה אדם עצמו כאילו חציו חייב וחציו זכאי
It was taught in a Baraisa: לעולם יראה אדם עצמו כאילו חציו חייב וחציו זכאי – A person should always view himself as if he is half-guilty and half-meritorious. If he does one mitzvah, אשריו שהכריע עצמו לכף זכות – He is praiseworthy, because he has tipped the balance for himself toward merit. If he committed one sin, אוי לו שהכריע את עצמו לכף חובה – Woe to him, because he tipped the balance for himself toward guilt, as the passuk says: וחוטא אחד יאבד טובה הרבה – and one sin destroys much good, meaning בשביל חטא יחידי שחטא – because of a single sin he committed, אובד ממנו טובות הרבה – he loses many good things.
Rebbe Elazar the son of Rebbe Shimon goes further: Since the world is judged according to the majority of people, and a person is judged according to the majority of his actions, a person should view the whole world as if it were half-guilty and half-meritorious. If he does one mitzvah, אשריו שהכריע את עצמו ואת כל העולם לכף זכות – He is praiseworthy, for he tipped the balance for himself, and the entire world, toward merit, but if he commits one sin, אוי לו שהכריע את עצמו ואת כל העולם לכף חובה – woe to him, for he tipped the balance for himself, and the entire world, toward guilt.
- תלמוד גדול או מעשה גדול
The Gemara relates a question posed to Rebbe Tarfon and the elders: תלמוד גדול או מעשה גדול – Is Torah study greater, or is performance [of mitzvos] greater? Rebbe Tarfon declared that the performance of mitzvos is greater, and Rebbe Akiva declared that Torah study is greater. נענו כולם ואמרו – Then they all spoke up and said: תלמוד גדול שהתלמוד מביא לידי מעשה – Torah study is greater, because Torah study brings about [mitzvah] performance. Rebbe Yose says that study of Torah is greater because the Torah was given long before many of its mitzvos came into practice (such as separating terumah, or shemittah). וכשם שהלימוד קודם למעשה – Just as Torah study precedes [mitzvah] performance, כך דינו קודם למעשה – so does the judgment concerning one’s [Torah study] precede his judgement concerning [mitzvah] performance. Similarly, Rav Hamnuna said: אין תחילת דינו של אדם אלא על דברי תורה – the beginning of a man’s judgment is only about his failure to study Torah. The Baraisa concludes: וכשם שדינו קודם למעשה – And just as the judgment concerning one’s Torah [study] precedes his judgment concerning his [mitzvah] performance, כך שכרו קודם למעשה – so too its reward precedes the reward for [mitzvah] performance.