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I have heard it said that only the mitzvot of kibbud av v'eim (honoring parents) and shiluach haken (sending away the mother bird before taking eggs) are given with an explicit reward (that your days may be lengthened). Often times this is cited in relation to the story of Acher in the Gemara, although it doesn't seem to be there.

In fact, I can't find a source for it anywhere. And it would seem that Devarim 25:15 would be a third case (specifying honest weights and measures), so it would also seem to be wrong. Yet it also seems to be something that "everyone" knows.

Can anyone help track down a written source for the popular belief?

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migrated from meta.judaism.stackexchange.com May 12 '11 at 0:56

This question came from our discussion, support, and feature requests site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more.

I would have liked to tag this as "sources" but I don't yet have enough reputation to do so. If someone with enough reputation thinks that tag would make sense, please create it and add it. Thanks! – Andrew M. Greene May 12 '11 at 0:52
You accidentally posted this on meta. I moved it here. I think that "sources" would be an unnecessary meta-tag, since I doubt anyone will ever want to try to find all questions in which someone's asking for a source. I put on some more topical tags. – Isaac Moses May 12 '11 at 0:58
@Isaac: I think the "sources" tag is a great idea, and I've added it. – Chanoch May 15 '11 at 16:05
@Chanoch I think the vast majority of the non-riddle non-mi-yodeya-series questions look for sources. I don't think it's the most useful tag, though I agree it's not meta in nature. – msh210 May 16 '11 at 3:29
It is not that they are the only one given with an explicit reward, but they are both given with an explicit reward of long life. – Menachem Aug 9 '13 at 0:15

It is easy to falsify the assertion that those are the only two mitzvos whose reward is stated. In fact, there is an entire category of mitzvos discussed in the g'mara, for which "matan s'charah b'tzidah" - "its payoff is [written] next to it". One ramification of being included in this group is that one cannot be coerced by the courts to perform those mitzvos (because there is enough incentive built into the command, according to some).

Hypothetical explanation for the source of misconception: Those two mitzvos in particular are associated strongly with each other and with this designation because they are the focus of a g'mara (Kidushin 39b) whose point is that material reward for any and all mitzvos may be (or is) actually immaterial in this world and only collectible in the next. As a result these mitzvos are commonly used as paradigms of this type of mitzva when discussing the ramifications of the type. For example, see the detailed analysis of the S'de Chemed on the topic here.

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The source is the Gemara in Kedushin 39b and Chulin 142a. דתניא רבי יעקב אומר אין לך כל מצוה ומצוה שכתובה בתורה שמתן שכרה בצדה שאין תחיית המתים תלויה בה בכיבוד אב ואם כתיב (דברים ה) למען יאריכון ימיך ולמען ייטב לך בשילוח הקן כתיב (דברים כב) למען ייטב לך והארכת ימים

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These passages say that when torah gives the reward with the mitzvah it means after resurrection. Neither says that these are the only two cases of that. – Monica Cellio May 13 '11 at 20:57
@MonicaCellio, but it's easy to read that way. – msh210 May 16 '11 at 3:04
@msh210: true. I'm wondering if people who think there are just two are mis-reading this or if there is another source for that idea. – Monica Cellio May 16 '11 at 3:36
@MonicaCiello, yeah: see WAF's answer. – msh210 May 16 '11 at 6:29

The source of the story with Elisha Ben Abuya is Ruth Rabbah Parsha 6 #4 (on the paseuk 3:13). It's brought in shortened form in Tosafot Hagigah 15a.

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See here (from sefer Shaleiach Tishalach p. 91) for an interesting essay on this topic.

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