“The world was created with ten statements. What lesson does the Torah communicate by telling us that it took ten statements by G-d when one would have sufficed? The wicked will be punished for destroying a world created with ten statements, while the righteous will be rewarded for preserving a world created with ten statements.” — (Avot 5:1)
The message of the Torah’s account of the creation of the world with ten statements is that the world and everything in it are most precious to their Creator. When a man’s sin brings about the Heavenly retribution of destruction of his property he is guilty of spoiling something beloved by G-d. He therefore deserves to be punished for this as well.
When, on the other hand, one’s righteousness not only sustains the world but also serves as a catalyst for a blessing of greater prosperity, he is fulfilling the Will of his Creator and will receive another reward for receiving a reward.
This is what an earlier Mishna (Avot 4:2) means by the statement: “The reward for a mitzvah is in itself also a mitzvah: the retribution suffered for a sin is in itself sinful”.
- Tiferet Yisrael