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Building a sukkah is sometimes a hard job. But we must never lose sight of the fact that Hashem rewards not only for actual mitzvah observance, but also for the amount of bother and trouble the individual suffered because of it.

In Sippurei Chassidim, Rabbi Zevin retells a story which Rabbi Yechezkel of Shinaveh would often relate.

Once there was a very poor man who could not afford to buy schach to cover his sukkah with. Having no other choice, he and his wife went into the forest and began tearing off branches from trees. The job took much longer than they had anticipated, especially since they had no tools to work with, and Yom Tov was quickly approaching.

As they began to panic, they began tearing twigs and small branches from the trees with their teeth. Before long, their lips and mouth were gushing blood from the bruises they incurred. But they finished the job in time and covered their sukkah properly.

In Heaven, they were impressed with all of the effort this poor couple invested in this mitzvah. It was decreed that on the first night of the holiday, our Patriarch Abraham should appear to them in the sukkah.

While sitting in the sukkah, the man suddenly noticed someone standing at the door. He assumed that it was another poor man hoping to be invited to join the Yom Tov meal. He greeted his unexpected guest warmly but explained that he was a poor man himself and had nothing to offer him. However, he suggested that he go to the sukkah of a rich man not far away, who will surely invite him to partake in a festive holiday meal.

The stranger introduced himself and explained that he had been sent to visit them as a reward for all of the hard work he and his wife had invested in building the sukkah. And with that he vanished.

This was their payment in this world. We cannot even fathom the reward they received in the World-to-Come.

Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Jerusalem, Israel