“Why do a mitzva if I know I will sin afterward?”

A visitor once asked this blunt question to the Rebbe in a private audience. He understood that performing a good deed is meaningful, but thought that any merits gained would be wiped away upon sinning.

“Imagine a breathtaking scenic landmark,” the Rebbe began. “A tourist captures the view with a photograph, and frames it beautifully. How much would the photograph sell for?” the Rebbe asked.

The man answered hesitantly, “About twenty-five dollars?”

The Rebbe continued his metaphor: “Another tourist who is an accomplished artist sees this magnificent sight and skillfully paints the scene. How much would his original artwork sell for?”

“Oh, it could be several thousand dollars!” exclaimed the man.

“Logically,” the Rebbe explained, “the painting, despite its beauty, only captured several of the many details in the entire scene. The photograph, on the other hand, captured every detail of the landmark.

“Why is the painting worth more than the photograph?” the Rebbe asked.

The man, comprehending the Rebbe’s parable, quickly replied, “It’s the effort that counts!”

“Exactly!” the Rebbe concluded. “Angels are picture-perfect. Though they do not sin their perfection does not require effort. Humans are imperfect. We may make occasional mistakes, but our effort is very precious to G‑d.”

—Heard from Yehoshua Werde


Imagine waiting to watch a performance. You anticipate seeing actors, props, dancing, and hearing lively music. But all you see before you is a curtain.

The curtain parts and everything is all there! Did it happen instantly? Of course not! The curtain revealed the culmination of weeks of preparation.

People may wonder, “Is Moshiach really going to appear suddenly? How could such a drastic change occur?”

The revelations of Moshiach will not happen instantly. Every good deed that has been done from the beginning of creation has been saved; frozen in the cosmos. When one commits sins, it may have a negative effect, yet it does not wipe away the good.

When Moshiach is revealed, it will be like a curtain that has just been opened.

“Today will never happen again. But one good deed can make it last forever.”

“The total is greater than the sum of its parts.”