In the Torah portion of Seitzei we read:1 “Do not withhold the wages due to your poor or destitute hired laborer…. You must give him his wage on the day it is due, and not let the sun set with him waiting for it.”

Our Sages inform us2 that G‑d performs that which He commands the Jewish people to perform. The service of the Jewish people in their performance of Torah and mitzvos is likened to that of a laborer for an employer.3

Accordingly, it would seem that as soon as a Jew finishes performing a mitzvah, he should “on that day” receive his recompense.

Why is it then that we find that G‑d does not reward the performance of a mitzvah immediately, but delays it for the morrow — the “World to Come,”4 as in the saying:5 “Today to do them; tomorrow to receive the reward.”?

The Alter Rebbe6 quotes the saying of our Sages,7 that “the purpose for which this world was created is that G‑d desired to have an abode in the lower realms,” referring, as the Alter Rebbe explains, to this physical world. It is in this gross material world that G‑d desires to dwell, so that the world will be illuminated with the unconcealed light of G‑dliness.8

This is accomplished through our actions and divine service throughout the period of exile9 and throughout the entire period of the Jewish people’s service to G‑d. For in its every action, our service of Torah and mitzvos refines and elevates the world, drawing down G‑dliness within it.

Ultimately, the combined service of all the Jewish people throughout all the generations refines and elevates the entire world, transforming it into a dwelling fit for G‑d.

This will be realized during the times of Moshiach, and particularly during the time of techiyas hameisim , at which time evil will vanish from this world and there will be a “revelation of His glory, and all flesh will behold G‑dliness together… and the glory of G‑d will fill the whole world.”10

Thus, the spiritual service of all the Jewish people throughout all the generations constitutes a single “job,” the purpose of which is that transformation of the world into an abode for G‑d. Moreover, this labor does not require the contributions of a mere “hired hand” but rather that of a contractor — G‑d contracted out the world, as it were, to the Jewish people, that we make it into a dwelling for Him.

This explains why the bulk of the Jews’ reward will be in the World to Come, during the times of Moshiach and particularly during the time of techiyas hameisim , for the reward of the World to Come will be given to all Jews as one.11 And this reward will indeed be received immediately upon the conclusion of our labor.

In light of the above, we may say that the service of the Jewish people and their subsequent reward extend into the realm of a partnership; G‑d delights, as it were, in the successful fulfillment of His desire that the world be transformed — “It is pleasurable to Me that I have commanded and My will has been fulfilled”12 — and Jews delight in “dwelling in the House of the L-rd” (which they will have built) “all the days of their lives” and “beholding the pleasantness of the L-rd.”

However, it is incumbent upon the partner who relies on the other to do the work, not only to reward him at the end of his labor, but also to give him a daily payment.13

So too, in addition to the main reward that G‑d will give the Jews in the World to Come, He rewards us in this world as well, providing us with our sustenance, so that we may be able to complete our task of transforming this world into a Divine abode.

Based on Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXIX, pp. 138-143