The Torah tells us that if a Jew lives well and fulfills his purpose, his reward is the World to Come. On the other hand, we are told that all Jews will inherit the World to Come.1 This implies even those who have not lived well and fulfilled their purpose. Which is correct?

The Torah is the wisdom of Hashem. It follows that it is endlessly deep and infinitely wide. It applies exactly to, and equally in, all times and places and can have no conflicts. Any apparent inconsistency can always be reconciled depending only on the level of our appreciation.

The Rebbe has explained2 that Olam Habo (the World to Come) is a term which refers to two separate states.

The first is Gan Eden. It is the state of neshomos, when they have successfully finished their mitzvos, refining the various bodies in which they have been enclothed and elevating their environment. The neshomah is in Gan Eden as a reward. There it learns the Torah it learned on earth at a much higher level, and basks in the glow of Hashem’s presence.

We are told that this is so pleasurable that one moment of this pleasure is more than the entire life on this world.3

The other state of the World to Come, is Techias HaMeisim (the Revival of the Dead). This will be a time when neshomos are resurrected into the bodies that were their attire, so being brought back to life. The period of Techias HaMeisim will follow the revelation of Moshiach.4

The Rebbe has explained that those people who are alive when Moshiach comes will not necessarily die before the period of Techias HaMeisim.

So the contradiction is resolved; Gan Eden is reward for some; Techias HaMeisim rewards all Jews. Both are the World to Come.

What happens to neshomos who do not merit Gan Eden? They have Gehinom. The word merit is not used in the sense of a naughty child being rapped over the knuckles. The notion is that the neshomah has not been elevated to the point where it warrants Gan Eden. Those who cannot pass into Gan Eden withdraw to Gehinom. There, neshomos, stained with their transgressions, are scrubbed spotless. As a facet of Hashem’s kindness, they are then able to move on to Gan Eden or their next Gilgul (life cycle).

Which is higher? Gan Eden or Techias HaMeisim ? The answer to, and the understanding of, this question is the fascinating logical conclusion of all Chassidus. It is a secret so little understood that many fine scholars could never have navigated these waters of Torah without the beacon of Chassidus.

First, the Rebbe explains, Techias HaMeisim is later in time. As a culmination of everything, it must be a higher level.5 But is that not strange? On the one hand, Jews who have lived exemplary lives are rewarded with Gan Eden. On the other hand, the whole rabble of Jewry, who ignore our laws, steal, commit commercial rape and pillage and think of only themselves, are sharing Techias HaMeisim with Tzaddikim! How can that be?

The world is divided into Torah and mitzvos. Torah is the spiritual, mitzvos is the physical. The physical follows the spiritual. There is a story of a Rebbe who was alive at the time America was first mapped out. When he was brought a map of America, he examined it and pronounced it to be incorrect. There was skepticism from some of those who should have known better. When it was in fact found that the map was wrong, one of the Chassidim asked the Rebbe how he knew. The Rebbe replied that he looked into the letter Beis of the first word of the Torah, Bereishis, and that is how he knew. What does that mean? For a Rebbe, a Tzaddik, who knows spirituality, the physical follows naturally.

So what does it mean the world is divided into Torah and mitzvos? It means the spiritual and the physical, the neshomah and the body, a driving force and an activity. Because there is Torah and mitzvos, there is a neshomah and a body. There is a spiritual force, the Torah, and the physical activity, the mitzvos.

Then comes the question: which is higher Torah or mitzvos? the spiritual or the physical?

In the revealed sense Torah is higher than mitzvos because mitzvos are spawned from Torah. But ultimately that is not so. The whole purpose of Torah is the mitzvos. So, the mitzvos are really the main thing.

Although at first glance it appears that a Jew taking somebody across the road or refraining from stealing from him or overcoming his natural urge to put in a false insurance claim does not compare with the difficulties of learning the infinite concepts of Torah, yet this is not so. The whole of the Torah he has learned is only to instruct him to do those things. The whole learning is ultimately for action.

So the main thing is the ultimate result. Consider the example of baking a cake; when the baker thinks of his cake, what he thinks of first is the ultimate result, the ultimate cake, with its chocolate icing, the cherry on top. The purpose of the recipe and the ingredients all lead to the result of the finished cake.

If the purpose of Torah is the doing of the mitzvos, which then is higher the neshomah or the body? This is an incredible question; the knee jerk reaction is of course the neshomah because the neshomah is spiritual. However, the reverse is true; the whole purpose of the neshomah is only to enliven the body to action.

We have learned that the reward of Gan Eden is for the neshomah. The spirit benefits because of its completeness and can then be exposed to a revelation of G‑dliness. It is pleasurable beyond imagination, but it is not the ultimate level. The ultimate level must be the body level the ultimate purpose level. That level is Techias HaMeisim.

Every Jew is as full of mitzvos as a pomegranate with seeds.6 Even our law-ignoring-thief, mentioned earlier, cumulatively through all his journeys through his various life cycles, is now as full of mitzvos as a pomegranate.

Mitzvos are recognized at Techias HaMeisim. Learning Torah is recognized at Gan Eden. As the main thing is the body (mitzvos), the main thing is Techias HaMeisim. Techias HaMeisim comes after Gan Eden because it is its completion. All Jews have a portion there because all Jews have mitzvos, even though all Jews do not have Torah. So it is that all Jews have a share in the World to Come which is Techias HaMeisim.

We are told that the job of doing all mitzvos cumulatively through all the life cycles is now complete. Moshiach will be immediately revealed and this final stage of the World to Come will be upon us all.