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the Rambam in yesodei torah says that stars are creatures with intellect. how do we reconcile this with modern science which says that they are merely inanimate balls of hydrogen and helium gas.

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He also thought Neptune didn't exist... –  Double AA Jul 11 '13 at 7:02
Does saying something has intellect necessitate it is 'living'? –  New Alexandria Jul 11 '13 at 13:14
This question would be stronger if you'd edit in why you believe that it's necessary to reconcile the Rambam's cosmology with that of modern science. –  Isaac Moses Jul 11 '13 at 14:09
Well, modern science also says humans are balls of oxygen and carbon and the like, yet Jews believe in a soul. Perhaps the Rambam believed stars have some spiritual component analogous to a human's soul, and this is what he meant. As you haven't cited or quoted the Rambam, it's hard to tell. −1. –  msh210 Jul 11 '13 at 18:00
@DoubleAA, so you think the contradiction the asker is noting is between inanimate (=nonmoving) and having intellect? What does one have to do with the other? (I'm really asking the asker, not you. Asker, please edit your question to clarify what you mean to ask.) –  msh210 Jul 12 '13 at 7:12
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2 Answers

When they landed a man on the moon, one great rabbi (R' Yaakov Kamenetsky, I think?) observed: "well Rambam was quoting Aristotelian philosophy and thought the moon had an intellect; Ramban was a kabbalist and said it's a ball of mineral. Looks like Kabbala just beat Aristotelian philosophy."

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You don't need Kabbalah to beat Aristotelian philosophy. –  Double AA Jul 11 '13 at 7:26
What does kabboloh have anything to do with science? –  MoriDoweedhYaa3gob Jul 11 '13 at 12:38
I heard that that was the only time that R' Yaakov Kamenetsky watched TV, and it was for the purpose of seeing with his own eyes which side of that dispute was correct. –  Isaac Moses Jul 11 '13 at 14:07
@IsaacMoses and Shalom, One of my Rabbeim quoted a Rav who said of the lunar landing, "Don't believe everything you see on TV." –  Seth J Jul 11 '13 at 16:35
@shalom not exactly how Rav Yaakov wrote it,but it can be found in his sfer Emes Lyaakov page 15 in Bereishis. –  sam Jul 12 '13 at 7:47
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Ramchal (Mevo L'Sefer Haklalim):

The philosophers and scientists can grasp only the external surface of the world, namely, the physical world, according to what appears to their physical eyes. However, this is merely the outermost garment of the spiritual roots, namely, the sefiros who govern the world and are the innermost spirituality inside the physical... Just like the form of man alludes to the entire system of Divine governance, so too it is alluded from all the parts of nature, and every creation is an expression of one detail of His governance...

And on this are based most of the sayings of the Sages which refer to the Creation and to all matters of the world, whether in heaven or on earth and all of their derivatives, this is also a broad and important subject.

When our sages instruct us on matters of nature and of this world, they are referring to its inner aspect - not on its external garment. Therefore, sometimes in their words we find things which appear strange, and which appear to be clearly false from what we perceive with our senses. But the truth is that they are speaking according to the true governance which is hidden from human eyes, which they received from the prophets and from the holy torah...

from an answer here: Halachic Relevancy of 'Proving God'

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Is your answer that the Rambam was referring to the Sefirot that are 'behind' the moon? –  Double AA Jul 12 '13 at 8:27
no just that there's more to reality then meets the eye. a little faith is needed rather than jumping to conclusions that our holy Rabbis were refuted by scientific discovery –  ray Jul 12 '13 at 8:40
No one is trying to refute our holy Rabbis. They refute the Greek and Arab scientists they were quoting. I didn't know these scientists were so holy to know about Kaballah. –  Double AA Jul 12 '13 at 12:10
why do you assume they are quoting "greek and arab scientists". much of kabala was taught by Eliyahu Hanavi according to the zohar. ever read shaarei kedusha? –  ray Jul 16 '13 at 21:21
I assume as much because the Rambam says so and it makes a lot of sense. I don't know what the relevance of who taught whom Kabbalah is to this. –  Double AA Jul 16 '13 at 21:27
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