Today, with refrigerated shipping and guaranteed worldwide delivery it is relatively easy to get a Lulav and Etrog set almost anywhere (for a price, of course). But long ago, it was a lot harder and often an entire Jewish community would have to share one Etrog, or even possibly go without one.
One year the town of Berdichev was without one. It so happened that a traveler was on his way home with a beautiful Etrog, and bad road conditions forced him to spend the holiday in Berdichev.
The town was overjoyed since they would now have an Etrog to say the blessing on. But the man was clever, and knew that in this town resided the famous, beloved righteous defender of Israel, the saintly Rabbi Levi Yitzchak – and so he stipulated that he would only share it if he was guaranteed a place in the world to come. And Rabbi Levi Yitzchak agreed.
But then Rabbi Yitzchak spread the word amongst the townsfolk that no one was to allow this traveler into their Sukkah. This was unusual, since Jews are encouraged to be welcoming of guests, especially on the holidays. But all the townsfolk obeyed their beloved Rabbi and he wasn’t welcomed anywhere.
A note of Jewish Law is important here: No Mitzvah can observed through illegal means, but with some Mitzvot it goes even further. You can’t observe the Mitzvah of Sukkah without permission from the owners of the Sukkah. And so this desperate guest went from Sukkah to Sukkah, only to be rebuffed each time.
He could not believe this! Jews are supposed to be welcoming! What is this? So he hurried to the Sukkah of the Rabbi, who greeted him warmly, and then explained that he would only be welcome into the Sukkah if he took back the condition of the share in the world to come.
The guest did not hesitate, and said – I need to sit in a Sukkah!
This is what Rabbi Levi Yitzchak was waiting for. He turned to G-d and exclaimed: “Look at your people Israel! They do not care for reward, they do not care for the bliss of the world to come! All they wish is to be able to observe your commandments!”