In this week’s Torah portion, Teitzei, the Torah tells us that “You shall not withhold the wages of a poor or destitute hired worker … you shall pay him his wage on his day (the day that he works) and not let the sunset over it …” In other words, we may not withhold the wages of a hired worker; instead, we must pay him the same day.
Earlier in the Torah, we find that Hashem promised us that “I will turn towards you …” Rashi explains this as follows. “I will turn away from all My affairs to pay for your reward.” To what may this be compared? To a king who hired some workers …” From this, it is clear that our service of Hashem in Torah and Mitzvos is comparable to that of a hired worker for his employer.
The Sages tell us that Hashem fulfills that which He tells the Jews to perform. Based on this, we need to understand how G-d delays our payment. The Sages teach us that “today we must fulfill the Mitzvos, and tomorrow, meaning in the World to Come, we will receive our payment.” How can Hashem “transgress” His commandment? It would seem that He should pay us upon the completion of each Mitzvah. Why is it that He withholds our wages, and does not pay us on the same day?
This can be explained in the following manner. The Alter Rebbe cites the teaching of the Sages, that “the purpose of creation is that Hashem desired a dwelling place down below.” The words “down below” refer to this low, physical world of ours. There is none lower than this world in terms of the concealment of G-dly light. It is here specifically that Hashem desired to dwell, meaning that His presence is to be revealed here without any concealment whatsoever. How is it possible to accomplish such a feat? This is done through “our actions and Divine service throughout the duration of our exile.” Every act of serving Hashem, which is performed by each Jew, refines his body and his portion in this world. It is through the efforts of the entire Jewish nation, throughout all generations that we can “construct” this dwelling place for Hashem.
What this means to say is that our job is not complete until we reach the time of the total perfection of this world, which will take place in the World to Come. Therefore, Hashem is not delaying our payment; instead, He is paying us after our task.
May each of us work quickly to complete our job, thereby fulfilling Hashem’s desire. In this merit, may we all have a good, sweet year. I wish one and all a good Shabbos!
Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn
Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 29, Page 138-144
מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש
חיילי “צבאות השם” חיים ועדן עודד שיחיו מאריס
נדפס ע”י הוריהם
הרה”ת ר’ מנחם מענדל וזוגתו מרת חי’ מושקא שיחיו מאריס
. Our Parshah, Devorim 24:14-15.
. Parshas Bechukosai, Vayikra 26:9.
. See Talmud Eiruvin 22, a, Avodah Zarah 3, a.
. See Tanya at the beginning of Chapter 36.
. See the Midrash Tanchumah to Parshas Naso, Section 16.
. See Tanya ibid.
. Tanya Chapter 37.