But long before the dissemination of the Zohar others have alluded to mankind’s pivotal role in the universe. Rambam (1135-1204) said “One should consider himself as well as all the world as half meritorious and half culpable all year long. And [he should believe that] if he were to commit just one sin, he would incline himself and the entire world toward guilt and bring about destruction; and, contrarily, that if he were to fulfill just one mitzvah he would incline himself and the entire world toward merit and bring about salvation and redemption” . And R’ Yoseph Gikatilla (1248-1323) spoke of the righteous as having “the ability to unite all the emanations, thus making peace between the upper and lower worlds” and of wrongdoers having the ability to “destroy the world and ruin the order of creation” .
 Hilchot Teshuvah 3:4; also see Kiddushin 41b.
 Sha’arei Orah 2.
(c) 2012 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman
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