Learning from Those Not Worthy by Michael Winner/8/31/2023 "Cursed be the one who misdirects a blind person who is underway. And all the people shall say, Amen" (Devarim 27:18).I just happened to run into a Rambam today (Hilchos Talmud Torah 4:1) which speaks about not learning from a rav who does not act in a proper manner. The basis of this is a teaching from Rebbe Yochanon, which is rather straight forward and does not need elucidation.Over the years, my wife and I have had the privilege of seeing how the State of Israel educates the public in matters of Torah. Once, when visiting a museum in Katzrin, we had the "honor" of seeing a rather … entertaining, if not completely heretical, film regarding the importance of everybody's learning from everybody else. And for some strange reason, which I cannot imagine, there was a very big focus on the ultra-Orthodox learning from the secular public.As a "proof" of this, they brought the famous Gemara (Chagiga 15) that speaks of Achar, the teacher of Rebbe Meir, who completely left the world of Torah. And from within the story, we have Rebbe Meir himself still learning Torah from his teacher, despite his heretical views in life. From here we "clearly learn" that those who cling to Torah could and should learn Torah from those who don't.However, they forgot to continue their learning, where the exact same Gemara asks, "How could Rebbe Meir learn from Acher?" After all, we learned from Rebbe Yochanon, that it is forbidden to learn from such people! The Gemara answers that those that are "big" are able to learn from corrupted individuals, since they can tell which of their teachings is kosher and which are not. However, those who are "small" cannot do so.So, the Lechem Mishna asks a question. Why didn't the Rambam include that last part in the halacha? The Rambam simply states that one should not learn from rabbis who do not act properly. He does not include that people who are "big enough" can and the rest could not. The Lechem Mishna continues and says: If you want to say that the Rambam meant that today, we are all "small," compared to back then, we can't. Because when the Rambam wrote these halachos, he intended to state halachos for the past, present, and future (that is why he writes on halachos that are not relevant today and will be relevant for the future).So, the Lechem Mishna concludes that according to the Rambam (which the Shulchan Oruch concurs with), when the Gemara gave an answer to Rebbe Meir's behavior, the Gemara was addressing ONLY Rebbe Meir, and was not meant to be learned in regards to others. Being ONLY Rebbe Meir could do what he did. But US? There is no source to learn Torah from corrupted individuals.As a side note, there are those who DO say that those like Rebbe Meir could learn from such people (and not just Rebbe Meir himself). However, even they agree that such people do not exist today.So, it seems like there is an argument between the Museum in Katzrin and the Lechem Mishna, Rambam, and Shulchan Oruch. I think it's pretty clear which side we should follow.Have a wonderful Shabbos!