(י) כָּל הָעוֹשֶׂה מִצְוָה אַחַת, מְטִיבִין לוֹ וּמַאֲרִיכִין לוֹ יָמָיו וְנוֹחֵל אֶת הָאָרֶץ. וְכָל שֶׁאֵינוֹ עוֹשֶׂה מִצְוָה אַחַת, אֵין מְטִיבִין לוֹ וְאֵין מַאֲרִיכִין לוֹ יָמָיו וְאֵינוֹ נוֹחֵל אֶת הָאָרֶץ. כָּל שֶׁיֶּשְׁנוֹ בַמִּקְרָא וּבַמִּשְׁנָה וּבְדֶרֶךְ אֶרֶץ, לֹא בִמְהֵרָה הוּא חוֹטֵא, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (קהלת ד) וְהַחוּט הַמְשֻׁלָּשׁ לֹא בִמְהֵרָה יִנָּתֵק. וְכָל שֶׁאֵינוֹ לֹא בַמִּקְרָא וְלֹא בַמִּשְׁנָה וְלֹא בְדֶרֶךְ אֶרֶץ, אֵינוֹ מִן הַיִּשּׁוּב:
(10) Anyone who performs a single commandment is bestowed with goodness, his days are lengthened, and he inherits the Land. And anyone who does not perform a single commandment is not bestowed with goodness, his days are not lengthened, and he does not inherit the Land. Anyone who is [involved in] Scripture, the Oral Law, and proper social behavior will not easily [come to] sin, as it is stated, "And the three-ply cord is not quickly severed" (Ecclesiastes 4:12). Anyone who is not [involved in] Scripture, and not in the Oral Law, and not in proper social behavior is not part of civilization.
גמ׳ ורמינהי אלו דברים שאדם אוכל פירותיהן בעולם הזה והקרן קיימת לו לעולם הבא אלו הן כבוד אב ואם וגמילות חסדים והכנסת אורחים והבאת שלום בין אדם לחבירו ותלמוד תורה כנגד כולם
GEMARA: And the Gemara raises a contradiction from a mishna (Pe’a 1:1): These are the matters that a person engages in and enjoys their profits in this world, and the principal reward remains for him for the World-to-Come, and they are: Honoring one’s father and mother, acts of loving kindness, hospitality toward guests, and bringing peace between one person and another; and Torah study is equal to all of them. This indicates that one is rewarded in this world only for fulfilling these mitzvot, but not for fulfilling all mitzvot.
וכל העושה מצוה אחת יתירה על זכיותיו מטיבין לו ורמינהו כל שזכיותיו מרובין מעונותיו מריעין לו ודומה כמי ששרף כל התורה כולה ולא שייר ממנה אפילו אות אחת וכל שעונותיו מרובין מזכיותיו מטיבין לו ודומה כמי שקיים כל התורה כולה ולא חיסר אות אחת ממנה
אמר אביי מתניתין דעבדין ליה יום טב ויום ביש רבא אמר הא מני רבי יעקב היא דאמר שכר מצוה בהאי עלמא ליכא
Abaye said: When the mishna said that he is rewarded, it means that he has one good day and one bad day. He is rewarded for the mitzvot he performs; nevertheless, occasionally he also has bad days which cleanse him of his sins, and the baraita is referring to those days. Rava said that the mishna and this baraita represent two different opinions. In accordance with whose opinion is this baraita? It is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Ya’akov, who says: There is no reward for performance of a mitzva in this world, as one is rewarded for mitzvot only World-to-Come.
As it is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Ya’akov says: There is not a single mitzva written in the Torah whose reward is stated alongside it, which is not dependent on the resurrection of the dead, i.e., the reward is actually bestowed in the World-to-Come, after the resurrection of the dead. How so? With regard to honoring one’s father and mother it is written: “That your days may be long, and that it may go well with you” (Deuteronomy 5:16). With regard to the dispatch of the mother bird from the nest it is written: “That it may be well with you, and that you may prolong your days” (Deuteronomy 22:7).
Despite this, it occurred that there was one whose father said to him: Climb to the top of the building and fetch me chicks. And he climbed to the top of the building and dispatched the mother bird and took the young, thereby simultaneously fulfilling the mitzva to dispatch the mother bird from the nest and the mitzva to honor one’s parents, but upon his return he fell and died. Where is the goodness of the days of this one, and where is the length of days of this one? Rather, the verse “that it may be well with you” means in the world where all is well, and “that your days may be long” is referring to the world that is entirely long.
The Gemara asks: But perhaps this incident never occurred? It is possible that everyone who performs these mitzvot is rewarded in this world, and the situation described by Rabbi Ya’akov never happened. The Gemara answers: Rabbi Ya’akov himself saw an incident of this kind. The Gemara asks: But perhaps that man was contemplating sin at the time, and he was punished for his thoughts? The Gemara answers that there is a principle that the Holy One, Blessed be He, does not link a bad thought to an action, i.e., one is not punished for thoughts alone.
והא א"ר אלעזר שלוחי מצוה אין נזוקין התם בהליכתן שאני
The Gemara asks: But didn’t Rabbi Elazar say that those on the path to perform a mitzva are not susceptible to harm, neither when they are on their way to perform the mitzva nor when they are returning from performing the mitzva? The Gemara answers: In that case it was a rickety ladder, and therefore the danger was established; and anywhere that the danger is established one may not rely on a miracle, as it is written with regard to God’s command to Samuel to anoint David as king in place of Saul: “And Samuel said: How will I go, and Saul will hear and kill me; and God said: Take in your hand a calf and say: I have come to sacrifice an offering to God” (I Samuel 16:2). Although God Himself issued the command, there was concern with regard to the established dangers.
Rav Yosef said: Had Aḥer, literally Other, the appellation of the former Sage Elisha ben Avuya, interpreted this aforementioned verse: “That it may go well with you” (Deuteronomy 5:16), homiletically, as referring to the World-to-Come, as did Rabbi Ya’akov, son of his daughter, he would not have sinned. The Gemara asks: And what caused Aḥer to sin? There are those who say he saw a case like this, where a son went up to the roof on his father’s command, dispatched the mother bird, and then died. It was witnessing this episode that led Elisha ben Avuya astray.
And there are those who say that he saw the tongue of Ḥutzpit the disseminator after the latter was executed by the government, thrown in the street, and dragged along by something else, a euphemism for a pig. He said: Shall a mouth that produced pearls lap up dirt? For this reason he went out and sinned.