Thursday, March 17, 2022

Ramban and Rambam disagree whether stars are conscious beings?

 Rav Yaakov (Emes L’Yaakov Bereishis 15): When I watched the astronauts descending by ladder from their spaceship on the moon, I was thinking, “How could the Rambam explain this since he has written that the moon is a spiritual entity?” I thought that this indicates that the kabalistic view that the moon is a material object has been shown to be victorious over the philosophical view that the moon is a spiritual entity. Thus, the Ramban’s view had been vindicated and the Rambam’s view disproved. …

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.

Ramban (Devarim 18:9) THOU SHALT NOT LEARN TO DO AFTER THE ABOMINATIONS OF THOSE NATIONS.  Over the stars and constellations He further appointed guides, angels, and “lords” which are the soul of the stars and constellations. Now, their behavior from the time they come into existence for eternal duration, is according to the pattern the Most High decreed for them. However, it was one of His mighty wonders that within the power of these higher forces, He put configurations  and capacities to alter the behavior of those under them. Thus if the direction of the stars towards the earth be good or bad to a certain country, people, or individual, the higher dominions can reverse it of their own volition, 


  1. Halacha 9

    All the stars and spheres possess a soul, knowledge, and intellect. They are alive and stand in recognition of the One who spoke and [thus brought] the world into being.

    According to their size and level, each one praises and glorifies their Creator as the angels do.12 Just as they are aware of the Holy One, blessed be He, they are also aware of themselves and of the angels which surpass them. The knowledge of the stars and the spheres is less than the knowledge of the angels, but greater than that of men

  2. You forgot to include the Satmar's view where he uses the Rambam as proof that the moon landing was faked.

  3. From later on in the perek:


    Below the sphere of the moon, God created a [type of] matter14 which differs from the matter of the spheres. He created four forms15 for this matter, which differ from the forms of matter of the spheres.

    Each of these forms was fixed in a portion of this matter [as it
    exists in its totality]. The first of these forms is the form of fire.
    [When] it became connected to a portion of this matter, from the two
    there came into being a body of fire.

    The second of these forms is the form of wind. [When] it became
    connected to a portion of this matter, from the two there came into
    being a body of wind.

    The third of these forms is the form of water. [When] it became
    connected to a portion of this matter, from the two there came into
    being a body of water.

    The fourth of these forms is the form of earth. [When] it became
    connected to a portion of this matter, from the two there came into
    being a body of earth.

    Thus, below the sky there are four different states of matter, one
    above the other, each one encompassing the one below it from all
    directions, like a sphere. The first of these bodies, which is closest
    to the sphere of the moon, is that of fire. Below it is the body of
    wind, below it the body of water, and below it the body of Earth. There
    is no empty space without any matter between them at all.


    This is repeated also in the Zohar (which Rav Marguliot said proves that the Rambam learned from the Zohar!).

    Also in the Tanya.

    4 elements is ancient theory, and has no place in the modern world.

    Water is made from Hydrogen and Oxygen. Oxygen is in the air we breathe.
    Hydrogen, technically speaking, is a metal, except it exists in a gaseous state.

  4. Remember there are two approaches
    One is to look at reality and then try to understand the Torah according to it. The second is to look at the Torah and make reality fit it.
    Here's a classic example - in Acharei Mos in the Arayos section, the Ramban says that if a menstruating woman looks at an iron mirror, little drops of blood will form on the mirror. Now, this doesn't happen. According to the first approach, well I guess the Ramban heard about it and was just relaying what he thought was true. According to the second approach, there's something wrong with menstruating women and iron mirrors because it's not happening and the Torah is never wrong.

  5. Third approach - not in the Torah itself. Ramban was a human being, he had literary sources. He met Karaites in Israel when he escaped Spain, so he had to show his audience he had mesora, kabbalah etc, beyond what the Karaites had - just the written texts.

  6. No, a legitimate question.

  7. Their comment, duh!

  8. apparently no credible sources exist for the claim

  9. it is difficult to get written sources for scuh claims, - rebbes may have made remarks 60 years ago, whcih were relayed by their chassidim and then told to regular guys. Many things I heard from Chabad shluchim, whcih are dificult to pinpoint that their rebbe said it. And Chabad at least published sichos every week.

  10. Therefore such claims must be accepted since they are difficult to validate?!

  11. nope, not therefore.


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