I was under the impression that, in contrast to Maimonides' distinction between techiyath hameithim (resurrection of the dead) and olam haba (the world to come), those Medieval/Renaissance period scholars more closely associated with kabbalistic leanings, such as the Maharal MiPrague, do not distinguish between the two concepts. I was therefore somewhat surprised to come across the following quote in the Maharal's Nethiv HaShalom Chapter 2:

הזריז צריך שיהיה גובר על גופו, כי גופו יש בו העצלות מאוד, וכאשר גובר על גופו בזריזות, שדבר זה סלוק הגוף, לכך ראוי לו עוה"ב ששם סלוק הגוף לגמרי

...therefore he is worthy of the world to come for there is the removal [or absence] of the [physical] body entirely

I was curious if anyone has any sources relevant to interpreting this passage, such as regarding whether or not the Maharal does indeed agree with Maimonides' distinction.

  • Out of my own curiosity, what is Rambam's distinction between techiyath hameithim and 'olam haba? – ezra Jan 30 at 5:28
  • What appears in your quotation is not in disagreement with the view ‘of the Mekubbalim’, & it isn’t talking about “removal of the [physical] body”. סלוק in this context means ‘elevating’ the body, similar to the idea of raising the energy level radiation/light. – Yaacov Deane Jan 30 at 16:55
  • The idea that our physical body somehow enters Olam Haba (contary to the Rambam's view) is usually associated with the Ramchal, who was from the school of the Arizal. The Maharal is not from the school of the Arizal; he is roughly a contemporary of him, and does not follow his teachings. – shmu Jan 30 at 19:02
  • My personal approach is to never challenge minor "דרך אגב" statements, where the author doesn't try to be exact. We hold the same for the Mishna so קל וחומר for the later Rabbis. If Maharal does not explicitly explains that it is עולם הבא and not "עולם הנשמות we can't build a Drohse on it. – Al Berko Jan 30 at 19:21
  • @ezra I believe that Rambam interprets that olam haba is incorporeal and is the ultimate reward; whereas techiyath hameithim is a distinct, corporeal concept. I believe the Rambam justifies the former philosophically/logically; while the latter, I believe he maintains is a (fundamental) matter of faith alone. – Loewian Mar 15 at 4:06

I don’t believe the Maharal is necessarily stating that one does not have a guf/body in olam habah. I believe he is stating that his body is elevated and removed to the greatest extent from all its physical properties such as sloth.

I believe this interpretation is evident in that very sentence. For in discussing the effects of zerizus even in this world, the Maharal states that it brings about siluk haguf, removal from the body. I don’t believe he means that there is any real measurable change in a corporeal sense, rather he means that it creates some sort of spiritual elevation. And thus he continues that it’s fitting to cause further removal in olam habah.

  • Except that he adds the word לגמרי suggesting that the zariz continues the siluk haguf till its completion. – Loewian Mar 15 at 3:28

Hattip @wfb who dug up this site, which presents (amongst many other relevant source texts) other relevant passages of the Maharal, that do together certainly sound like they are describing an incorporeal "resurrection" more in line with the Maimonidean olam haba alone. For example, indicating that chayei olam haba are incorporeal, we have:

Gevuroth Hashem 42

אבל לעולם הבא שלא יהיה האדם חמרי וגשמי כמו שהוא בעולם הזה, רק יהיה האדם במדריגת המלאכים המסולקים מן הגשמות

...However, in the world to come that man shall not be corporeal and physical as he is in this world, rather man shall be at the level of the angels who are removed from physicality...

Tifereth Yisrael 15

שאין עולם הבא רק קנין העולם הנבדל מן הגשמי

...For the world to come is only the acquisition of the realm separated from the physical...

Chidushei Aggadoth Sanhedrin 110b

עולם הבא הוא עולם השכל

...The world to come is the world of the intellect...

Likewise, implying that techiyath hameithim is identical to chayei olam haba, we have, for example:

Tifereth Yisrael 15

כאשר יאמר שאין תחיית המתים מן התורה, הרי זה מתנגד לעולם הבא מצד המקבל, כי אין עצם עולם הבא רק העולם שיבא אחר התחיה

...when one says that there is no resurrection of the dead from the Torah, he is in opposition to the world to come from the receiving end, for the essence of the world to come is only the realm that comes after the resurrection...

כי העולם הבא שיחזור האדם ויקבל החיות מן השי"ת

...For the world to come [is] that man shall return and receive life from THE NAME, may it be blessed...

Derech Chayim 4:16

ופירוש עולם הבא הוא העולם שיהיה אחר התחיה לא זולת זה, ולא יהא לך בדבר זה שום ספק וערעור... הרי כי שכר המצות הוא לאחר התחיה, ואין ספק כי העולם הבא הוא העולם ששם יהיה שכר מצות. ודבר זה נקרא עולם הבא, וזהו לאחר התחיה...

...and the explanation of the world to come is the realm that will be after the resurrection, nothing else. And you should have no uncertainty or qualm about this thing... for indeed the reward for the commandments is after the resurrection, and there is no doubt that the world to come is the realm that there will be the reward for the commandments. And this thing is called the world to come, and this is after the resurrection...

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