In contrast to the widely accepted view of reward and punishment as “carrot and stick,” reward and punishment are actually themselves the mitzvah and sin.
The mitzvah and sin are not deeds that stand alone, which God then repays with reward and punishment based on a predetermined system of rules.
Rather, each deed creates the framework that is its reward or punishment.
They are a part of the deed, a continuation of the act, an extension of a person’s relationship with it.
–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz