Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Rav Avigdor Miller on The Rambam and Aristotle

 Rav Avigdor Miller on The Rambam and Aristotle 


You quoted from the Rambam that we should stay away from the gentiles and wicked people. But the Rambam himself was very much involved with gentiles, in particular with Aristotle. Why?


I’ll explain it to you.  When you’re sitting now by that tape recorder recording this lecture, you’re taking something made maybe by goyim and thought up perhaps by goyim. You ride on buses driven by goyim. If you have a car, so the car and the gasoline are made and supplied by goyim. 

The answer is, whatever useful things goyim have to give you, you take it; if it’s an implement, technology, you can use it. And Aristotle to the Rambam was just a useful mechanism.  He supplied him with information.  But the Rambam wouldn’t sit with him.  He wouldn’t sit with him!

Now the truth is that the Rambam wouldn’t advise us even to read Aristotle’s books. He was able to read the books and pick out of them the things that seemed to him useful. And the truth is, after all is said and done, the Rambam took from Aristotle things which he thought were completely true but they weren’t.  You know, today it's a pity because we learn the Rambam in Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah and everything there is perfect except for the few things that come from Greek philosophy. Today they’re meaningless.

So what the Rambam took from Torah is forever and ever.  But what the Rambam took by following the ways of Aristotle are useless today.  That’s why certain parts of Moreh Nevuchim are meaningless today.  And the Vilna Gaon, the Gra, says about the Rambam: הפילוסופיה הארורה הטתו ברוב לקחה, that the cursed philosophy deceived him.  The Gra says that; the accursed philosophy deceived the Rambam! So even when the Rambam tried to pick out the useful things, in some cases he was deceived.  

But that was the Rambam’s approach to Aristotle.  It’s like our approach, let’s say, to medicine.  If a gentile specialist tells you that this and this diet or this or this medicine is good for you, so it’s not associating with him.  It’s just like using his tape recorder.

TAPE # 4

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