Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Stars are intelligent beings

 Mishna Torah (Yesodei hatorah 3:3) All of the stars and spheres are beings, endowed with a soul, intelligence and understanding; they continue a purposeful life and are conscious of the existence of Him Who spoke and the universe sprang forth. Each and every one, according to his greatness and degree, extol and glorify the Creator as do the angels; and to the extent that they recognize the Holy One, blessed is He! they also know their own selves and the angels above them. But the intelligence of the stars and spheres is lesser than the intelligence of the angels, but greater than the intelligence of man.

Moreh Nevuchim (2:5:1) SCRIPTURE supports the theory that the spheres are animate and intellectual, i.e., capable of comprehending things: that they are not, as ignorant persons believe, inanimate masses like fire and earth, but are, as the philosophers assert, endowed with life, and serve their Lord, whom they mightily praise and glorify; comp. "The heavens declare the glory of God," etc. (Ps. 19:2). It is a great error to think that this is a mere figure of speech: for the verbs "to declare" and "to relate," when joined together, are, in Hebrew, only used of intellectual beings. That the Psalmist really means to describe the heavens' own doing, in other words, what the spheres actually do, and not what man thinks of them, may be best inferred from the words, "There is no speech, nor language, their voice is not heard" (ver. 4). Here he clearly shows that he describes the heavens themselves as in reality praising God, and declaring His wonders without words of lip and tongue. When man praises God in words actually uttered, he only relates the ideas which he has conceived, but these ideas form the real praise. The reason why he gives expression to these ideas is to be found in his desire to communicate them to others, or to make himself sure that he has truly conceived them. Therefore it is said, "Commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still" (Ps. 4:5). Only ignorant or obstinate persons would refuse to admit this proof taken from Scripture. 

Moreh Nevuchim (2:5:2) As to the opinion of our Sages, I do not see any necessity for expounding or demonstrating it. Consider only the form they gave to the blessing recited on seeing the new moon, the ideas repeatedly occurring in the prayers and the remarks in the Midrash on the following and similar passages:--"And the host of heaven worshippeth thee" (Neh. 9:6); "When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy" (Job 38:7). In Bereshit Rabba, on the passage--"And the earth was empty and formless" (Gen. 1:2), our Sages remark as follows: "The words tohu and bohu mean mourning and crying; the earth mourned and cried on account of her evil lot, saying, 'I and the heavens were created together, and yet the beings above live for ever, and we are mortal.'" Our Sages, by this remark, indicate their belief that the spheres are animated beings, and not inanimate matter like the elements. 

Moreh Nevuchim (2:5:3) The opinion of Aristotle, that the spheres are capable of comprehension and conception, is in accordance with the words of our prophets and our theologians or Sages. The philosophers further agree that this world below is governed by influences emanating from the spheres, and that the latter comprehend and have knowledge of the things which they influence. This theory is also met with in Scripture: comp. [the stars and all the host of heaven] "which the Lord thy God hath divided unto all nations" (Deut. 4:19), that is to say, the stars, which God appointed to be the means of governing His creatures, and not the objects of man's worship. It has therefore been stated clearly: "And to rule over the day and over the night" (Gen. 1:18). The term "ruling" here refers to the power which the spheres possess of governing the earth, in addition to the property of giving light and darkness. The latter property is the direct cause of genesis and destruction; it is described in the words, "And to divide the light from the darkness (ibid.). It is impossible to assume that those who rule a thing are ignorant of that very thing which they rule, if we take "to rule" in its proper sense. We will add another chapter on this subject. 


  1. Rambam says the stars have no physical form, including the moon.
    Rav Goren ztl pointed out that after the moon landings in1969, when men walked on the moon and came back with moon rock, this statement of rambam is no longer empirically true.

  2. So did everyone else!
    So what is your point?

  3. Yes, it's not easy to touch the moon. I understand that they have eased covid restrictions, so it's now easier to book a flight and stay at the moon Hotel. Bring your own food though, the hechsher there is questionable.

  4. "You left out the fact he wanted to change the text of prayers because of this

    Israeli Armed Forces’ Chief Chaplain General Rabbi Shlomo Goren's
    change in the IDF Siddur (pg. 464) also based on text of Masechet

    Good point - obviously did not score points for him in certain circles. However, we do base certain things on secular/goyish science/astronomy, eg mashiv haruch is according to the secular /solar calendar, not the Hebrew calendar.

  5. Are you posting this (and posts about angels, demons, magic, et al) to mock the rabbis of past generations, or to insist that they were correct?

  6. If I read it correctly elsewhere, Satmar's official position is that the moon landing was faked so as to preserve the Rambam's authority.

  7. The disagreement was not whether the moon landing happened but whether it necessitated changing the traditional text

  8. It is simply presenting Torah information

  9. The changing of the text was not about validating the moon landing, but about (as far as I can see) whether we are making a bracha l'vatala by making a statement which we know is not true.

  10. This is a great movie, as far as I remember, contains no arayos

  11. Why do you post this particular category information, out of the whole Yam shel Torah?


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