Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Aristotle’s Letter to Alexander the Great

Aristotle: Born 384 -322 BCE. Birth: Chalcidice, Greece. Death: Chalcis, Greece. When the great philosopher Aristotle was old, he sent the following letter to his student, Alexander the Great:
“Blessed be He who opens the eyes of the blind, and shows sinners the true path. Let Him be praised in an appropriate manner; since I do not know how to praise Him for the great kindness and mercy, which He showed me. I am eternally grateful to Him, for getting me away from the foolishness to which I had devoted my life.
All my life I delved into philosophy, to explain all natural phenomena in a logical manner. I wrote many books on these subjects. Finally, in the twilight of my life, I had the opportunity to engage in a conversation with a Jewish sage. It did not take me long, to recognize his great wisdom; and he led me to understand, how great is the Torah, that was given on Mount Sinai.

He taught me the inner depth of the Torah, providing me with many brilliant insights based on its teachings. I realized how foolish I had been for not realizing, how G-d can manipulate the laws of nature; and that much of what happens in the world, is directed by G-d.

Realizing all this, I decided to devote myself to exploring the wisdom of the Torah. It did not take me long to realize, that the Torah is based on true foundations, while the axioms of philosophy are purely arbitrary.

Therefore, my dear student Alexander, if I had the power to collect all the books I have written, I would burn them. I would be embarrassed for any of them to survive.
However, I realize that I do not have this power; my books have already been published, and have spread all over the world. I also realize that I will receive Divine punishment, for having written such misleading books.

Therefore, my son, Alexander, I am writing this letter to tell you, that the great majority of my theories regarding natural law, are false. While nature does exist, G-d is the L-rd of the universe, and He directs all things as He sees fit. I am telling everyone openly, that they should not waste time with my books. They should not look at them, or even touch them with their hands. It is sinful to waste time, on the false theories that I have espoused. 
I feel that I have saved my soul by admitting my error; I hope that I will not be held guilty for the past, since I acted out of ignorance. But now I have revealed to the public that I was mistaken, and that my heart aches for the time I have wasted, on my foolish theories. Those who waste time on my books therefore, will deserve to be punished.

The Jewish scholar with whom I spoke, showed me the book of Proverbs (Mishley), written by King Solomon, one of the greatest geniuses of all times. The scholar showed me, that in many places, King Solomon warned against wasting time on philosophical speculation.

One such place is where he said, “Say to Wisdom, ‘You are my sister,’ and consider understanding your relative. That they may keep you from strange woman, from the loose woman who speaks so smoothly” (Proverbs 7:4,5).

I feel sorry for my eyes for what they have seen, and my ears for what they have heard. I feel sorry for my body, for wasting its strength on such detrimental studies.

I know that you praise me, and tell me, that I am famous all over the world because of the books I have written. People speak very highly of me. But I wish I were dead, because of the misleading books that I have spread all over the world.
People, who devote themselves to the Torah, will earn eternal life; while those who devote themselves to my books, will earn the grave. But I am prepared to accept upon myself, the punishment of them all.

I did not write to you earlier, because I was afraid that you would be angry with me, and perhaps even harm me. But now, I have made up my mind to tell you the truth. I know, that by the time you receive this letter, I will already be dead and buried, because I realize that my end is near.

I salute you with greetings of peace, Alexander of Macedon, great emperor and ruler.”

Your teacher,
From The Torah anthology, English, (Yalkut ME’AM LO’EZ) - Volume 6, Page 154-155. Which references a book called Shalsheleth Hakabbalah.

The Jew spoken of, was Shimon HaTzaddik (Simeon the Just), who was a Cohen Godol (High Priest) during the time of the Second Temple. He is also known for his opinions which are recorded in the Mishnah, (making him a Tanna, in Rabbinic terminology).

Joseph b. Shem-Ṭob assures his reader, that he had seen it written in an old book, that Aristotle at the end of his life had become a proselyte ("Ger Tzedek").

Aristotle recants all his previous philosophic teachings, having been convinced of their incorrectness by a Jewish sage. He acknowledges as his chief error the claim that truth is to be ascertained by the reasoning faculty only; inasmuch as Divine revelation is the sole way to truth.

This "letter" is the conclusion of a book of Aristotle, "two hands thick," in which he withdraws; based on his studying with the Jew, Simeon (Shimon HaTzadik); his views with regard to the immortality of the soul, the eternity of the world, and similar tenets.

It is claimed that Aristotle derived his doctrine, directly from Judaism.

Aristotle owed his philosophy to the writings of King Solomon, which were presented to him by his royal pupil Alexander; the latter having obtained them, on his conquest of Jerusalem.

Aristotle was the last of the Greek philosophers and is considered the culmination of all the work of those philosophers that were before him. If the culmination of all Greek philosophy resulted in finding the absolute truth, why would the world still be so intent on the so-called brilliance of Greek philosophy? For the same reason that the world is so intent on evolution versus creationism or science having the answers versus the Torah answers or people who think they are living the truth but are in life of fantasy and trivia (they constantly ask: why are things going so wrong in my life?). Most of the world is not living the absolute truth of Hashem, yet we still scratch our heads and ask: why is this world so messed up?

Fortunately, the plan of Hashem is to let us struggle to learn the truth as a way to strengthen us, guide us and perfect us. The best news of all is that He is giving us very strong messages that the testing is almost completed and the world of truth is imminent. We should all be living under Hashem’s philosophy very soon. B”H.

So much for Greek philosophy.

Note: This is a chapter from my book The Absolute Truth, available at the top of the right column. The E-copy is still $5, just click the “Buy Now” button.


  1. Rav, thanks again..

    As always, i gain so much knowledge just coming to this blog.


  2. Toda rabba Rav Menachem! This is very important letter. Is there any link to translation in Ivrit? I would love to post this on my blog.
    By teachings of Rabbi Nachman there is a vacated space since the Creation and braking of the vessels. This space is full of the empty wisdom of the gentiles. Many of us falled in almost 'forever'. By this empty 'wisdom' many Jews became epicurus. The TRUTH is simple, pure, and brings Light and Joy to our reality. Just the light of Tzadik can get us out of this vacated space, the false wisdom that keep us in darkness away from the Joy of LIGHT, THE TORAH. May all my people that are lost there come back on TIME.
    Thank you.
    Orna Nitzevet

    1. My volumes of the Me'am Lo'ez are in English, if you find someone who has it in Hebrew, there would be a copy of the letter in Hebrew. The other possibility would be on the web.

      Nice to here from you. Hope this finds you and family in good health.

  3. לאורנהת

    מכתב מאת אריסטו לתלמידו אלכסנדר המלך הגדול
    , בו הוא מתוודה, שרק תורת ישראל היא אמת, והקב״ה הוא מעל הטבע ומעל הכול.
    ״ברוך ה׳ הפוקח עיניים עיוורות, המראה לחטאים דרך ישרה, מהולל יהיה בתהילה הנאווה לו,כי אני יודע להללו על הרחמים והחסד הרב שעשה עימי,שהוציאני מן השטות הזו שהייתי שקוע בה כל ימי חיי,בעסק חכמת הפילוסופיה, להסביר כל דבר בדרך הטבע, שמובן על פי השכל.
    ועשיתי ספרים הרבה בחכמה הזו, כחול על שפת הים. עד עכשיו בערוב חיי, עם חכם אחד מחכמי ישראל, ובדברו עימי הראה חכמתו הגדולה, והכרתי את מעלת התורה הקדושה שניתנה בהר סיני, והוא משך ליבי בדברי התורה שהראה לי, והסביר לי חידושים אמיתיים ופלאים שנעשו, ואני הייתי פרא שלא הבינותי שלכל הדברים נוהג אותם הקב״ה בדרך פלא, חוץ מדרך הטבע.
    ומשראיתי כך, נתתי אל ליבי לדרוש ולתור בחכמת התורה, שכל דבריה מיוסדים על אדניי האמת, ואין היא כחכמת הפילוסופיה, שהיא הבל.
    ולכן אתה, תלמידי אלכסנדר,המלך הגדול, אל ידיחו ספריי, לא אותך ולא את חבריך הפילוסופים, שאילו היה בכוחי לאסוף את כל הספרים שחיברתי בחוכמה הזאת, בוודאי הייתי שורף אותם באש, כדי שלא יישאר שום דבר מהם.
    אבל אין הדבר בידי, שכן ספריי נפוצו בכל העולם, ואי אפשר לכנס את כולם.
    ואני יודע יפה, העונש החמור שיענישוני בוודאי על החטא הגדול שחטאתי,שאיבדתי הזמן במו ידיי והחטאתי רבים.
    ולכן, בני אלכסנדר, כתבתי המכתב הזה, כדי להודיעך, לך ולכל חבריך, שרוב הדברים שרוצים להסביר בדרך הטבע כדי שיובנו על פי השכל, דבריי שקר הם, שבוודאי הקב״ה , הוא פטרונו של עולם, והוא מנהיגו בכוחו הגדול.
    ומפני שמזלי גרם, שספריי נפוצו בארצות המערב, אני מודיע עכשיו לכולם, שלא יאבדו זמנם בהם, לא יסתכלו בהם ולא יגעו בהם בידיהם, שעוון גדול הוא לבלות הזמן על ספריי פילוסופיה, שהוא שקר שאין לו רגליים.
    ועכשיו, אני את נפשי הצלתי בזה שהודעתי את טעותי ,ואשמתי לא חמורה כ״כ על העבר, כי לא ידעתי.
    אבל עכשיו, שגיליתי הדבר לבריות, שחייתי בטעות , וליבי נשאף על הזמן שכיליתי בהבלים.
    אוי לאלו שליבם נמשך אחריי ספריי, בוודאי יהיו בתחתית השאול.
    ודע, כי כפי שהורה לי אותו חכם, מצאתי הרבה דברים בספר משליי שחיבר שלמה המלך, שלא יגרר אדם אחריי חכמת הפילוסופיה, באומרו ״לשמרך מאישה זרה, מנכרייה אמריה החליקה״ ( משלי ז).
    אוי לעיניים שכך רואות !! אוי לאוזניים שכך שומעות !! , אוי לי שביליתי גופי וכוחי בדברים מזיקים.
    וזה שאתה משבח אותי ואומר שיצא שמעי בכל העולם בגלל הספרים שעשיתי, ומעריצים אותי בהערצה רבה, בוודאי טוב המוות מזה שנפוצו ספריי בכל העולם. ודאי אלו שעוסקים בתורה,יירשו חיי עולם הבא, ואלו שעוסקים בספריי, יירשו גיהנום, ואף אני מוכן להיענש על כולם.
    וזה, שלא עכשיו גמרתי אומר להודיע לך הדבר, כי יודע אני שלפניי שיגיע מכתבי זה לידך, כבר אהיה בארון עצים, כי הגעתי לסוף ימיי..
    ושלום מן המורה אריסטו, הפורש שלום, לאלכסנדר מלך יוון הגדול ״.
    (מתוך הספר ״ילקוט מעם לועז ״ (שמות).
    אנא, שתפו את חבריכם, ותהיו שותפים במצוות זיכוי הרבים.
    מהקיר של איריס אליקים נעים

  4. Very enlightening. Also of interest, is the famous story of when Alexander the Great came to Yerushalayim to conquer it, the great Shimon Hatzadik led the procession of Jews to greet him. When Alexander saw Shimon Hatzadik, he jumped down from his horse and bowed to the great Tzadik (all his soldiers could not believe it). Alexander told him that he saw him in his dream, the exact likeness of Shimon Hatzadik, who would greet him. Thus, Alexander was kind to the Jews and when he wanted to erect a monument of himself in the holy City; the Tzadik could not allow that and suggested to him that pigeons would despoil his monument and it would not last long, so instead of a statue of the.the Great Alexander, the Tzadik suggested all Jewish boys born in Israel (Judea) would be named after him which found favor in Alexander's eyes, and, therefore, today we have many Alexanders in our midst.

  5. So what is the absolute truth of hashem?

    1. The Torah. The Bible. The Talmud. The Zohar. Jewish scriptures.

    2. The Greek philosophy that is still followed and studied today by people who do not know any better.

      Aristotle was the last of the philosophers and was the culmination of their work. After many years of what they thought was brilliant thought on the reality of this world and the life we live, Aristotle found the Absolute Truth, the word of Hashem, the Torah.

      That is the message he gave to his student, Alexander the Great.

  6. "This "letter" is the conclusion of a book of Aristotle"
    So What is the name of this Book?
    And if its in Meam Loez in English, which volume?

    1. This is not from a book of Aristotle. The Me'am Lo'ez (Hebrew: מעם לועז‎), initiated by Rabbi Yaakov Culi in 1730, is a widely studied commentary on the Tanach written in Ladino - it is perhaps the best known publication in that language. The Me'am Lo'ez which we call "the Torah Anthology," that is most used today, is a 20 volume set of books translated into English by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan. This letter is found in volume 6, page 154-155.

      Since I saw this letter for the first time about 23 years ago, I have seen it in other references by other prominent Torah scholars. It is totally proven legitimate.

      Go to: http://www.moznaim.com/the-torah-anthology-meam-loez-main-098
      as a source to purchase a set.