"All of Israel have a portion in the World to Come, as it is stated (Isaiah 60:21), 'And your people are all righteous; they shall inherit the land forever...'"—Mishnah, Sanhedrin 10:1.

Our service of G‑d in this world is rewarded in two ways: a) After a soul departs its body it is rewarded for all the good it did in Gan Eden ("Paradise"), the supernal world wherein souls are treated to spiritual delights that the physical mind cannot begin to comprehend or appreciate. b) The ultimate reward, the Messianic Era, the "World to Come," when all souls will descend once again into the bodies they once inhabited, and all mankind will live together in harmony in a utopian age.

The soul of every Jew is a "veritable portion of G‑d," and as such is eternal and indestructibleNot all souls have an equal share in Gan Eden; the more righteous the person was in this world, the more sublime its soul's abode and the greater its reward in the next world. In rare instances, certain souls do not earn any share in Gan Eden at all. The World to Come, however, is different. Every Jewish soul that ever lived will be resurrected.

The two reasons why every soul will be resurrected:

  1. "Even the empty ones amongst you [Israel] are filled with mitzvot as a pomegranate [is filled with seeds]"—Talmud, Berachot 57a.
  2. The soul of every Jew is a "veritable portion of G‑d," and as such is eternal and indestructible.

Our Sages, in fact, have enumerated several egregious sins which can cause a person to lose their portion in the World to Come (in the final chapter of Tractate Sanhedrin), yet, the Rebbe explains, this does not contradict the aforementioned principle that all will be resurrected:

  • An individual who does teshuvah (repentance) reclaims his portion in the World to Come, no matter the gravity of the sins he may have committed. This is true even if the individual only did teshuvah in his heart and the regret did not impact his future behavior.
  • The prayers, charity, and mitzvot performed by progeny have the ability to earn for the undeserving antecedents a portion in the World to Come. To a lesser degree, the good deeds of non-relatives done on behalf of a deceased individual can also benefit the soul.
  • If the person suffers indignities after his death, this too, can atone for his sins, and gain him a share in the World to Come. For example, the Talmud says that King Jeroboam, a brazen idolater who incited the population to follow his G‑dless ways, and certainly deserved to be excluded from the World to Come, will nevertheless arise when the time of resurrection arrives. Why? Because many years after he died his remains were ignominiously burned in fire.
  • Those few (if any) who are not covered by any of these possibilities will still arise—but in a different body.

Reincarnated Souls

According to mystical tradition, a soul can be reincarnated in many bodies. In fact, nowadays it is exceptionally rare for a "new" soul to be born. This raises the obvious question: which of its bodies will the soul occupy when it is resurrected?

Which of its bodies will the soul occupy when it is resurrected?First, though, we need to explain why souls are reincarnated.

Every soul has to complete all of the 613 commandments in order to elevate and rectify all its 613 spiritual components. A soul is reincarnated when it did not accomplish all of its obligations during its stay in a specific body. The soul must descend once again to finish the task.

Every body which was inhabited by the soul assisted the soul in the fulfillment of its mission. Those components of the soul which were rectified through the mitzvot fulfilled by a particular body always maintain a connection with that body, and will return to that body to revive it with the Resurrection of the Dead. In short, this means that souls will be divided into different bodies.

Every individual soul is a reflection of its infinite source, G‑d Himself, and thus has the ability to vivify any number of bodies.