"You shall not withhold a worker's wage with you until morning." (Lev. 19:13)

All that G‑d commands His children to do, He Himself fulfills. (Midrash Shemot Rabba 30:9)

The Jewish people are employed by G‑d….

The Jewish people are employed by G‑d. Every time a Jew fulfills a mitzvah, he has carried out G‑d's instruction. So, why does G‑d not reward us on that very day? How could G‑d keep the reward for the World to Come? Is that not withholding a laborer's wages?

[Some commentaries explain that since a Jew's obligations to G‑d extend throughout his entire life, the obligation to provide the reward does not begin until after his passing. That explanation would work according to Rambam, who is of the opinion that the eternal reward begins immediately after death. Ramban, however, is of the opinion that the eternal reward will take place in the future, after the Resurrection of the Dead. How then could G‑d withhold the earned rewards for such a long time?]

The truth is that it is not, because we have not finished our job. According to the Midrash, the purpose of the world's creation was because G‑d desired "a home in the lower realms", i.e. that His infinite light should be totally and completely revealed throughout all of existence. That is our mission to accomplish. Every time a mitzvah is performed, a part of the person or of the world is being refined, and the divine light within it is revealed. As a result of the collective service of the entire Jewish people throughout all of history, the job will ultimately be completed, and the Infinite Light within all of existence will be apparent. That is the meaning of the Redemption, and, more specifically, of the Resurrection of the Dead - the time when G‑d's glory will be revealed, and all flesh will perceive Him.

G‑d grants us the key to the lock....

Accordingly, the job for which we have been "hired" by our Creator will only have been completed after the Redemption, and at that time we will indeed immediately receive our pay in full.

Alternatively, we may surmise that G‑d does indeed immediately provide our reward on the very day that we earn it. However, if we were able to fully perceive our reward, the following day's service would become meaningless, lacking any true challenge. As a favor to us, therefore, G‑d deposits the reward in a "locked box". It's all there, merely locked away and hidden.

At the same time, however, so that it could be considered as truly having been given to us, G‑d grants us the key to the lock. He gives us the capacity to unlock our treasures, both physical and spiritual, at any time. It's in our hands - we've just got to make use of the opportunity.

[Based on Likutei Sichot, vol. 29, pp. 138-140; Hitva'aduyot 5744, vol. 4, pp. 2301-2; Copyright 2001 chabad of california / www.lachumash.org]