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The shape of the earth: Greeks vs Chazal

It’s interesting to me, how many of us are worried that believing in a ‘flat earth’ may somehow go against the Torah view of the world.

In this post, I’m going to try and bring as many of the sources I can find (easily!) together, so we can see ‘what is Torah thinking’ and ‘what is Greek thinking’.

Again, our job is to really engage with these sources, and to continue to ask God to show us the truth.

While that sounds easy, it’s actually way, way harder than most of us think. Because we have certain assumptions about how the world works that were inculcated in us from childhood. And it takes a very brave person, to really be willing to follow the truth wherever it might take them.

Let’s begin.

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Let’s start with the idea of the ‘spherical world’.

I found THIS article that brings together a lot of the original sources, apparently from a more ‘Torah’ perspective. (Pay attention, to how much our Torah world is being deeply colored by ‘Greek thinking’.)

It’s called: What the Sages Knew About the Shape of the World.

But they start by bringing the ‘real science’ from the Greeks:

The first to recognize the spherical nature of Earth was Pythagoras, who lived in the 6th century BCE; see Encyclopedia Hebraica, entry “Pythagoras,” p. 805….

Eratosthenes, who lived in the 3rd century BCE…even calculated the circumference of the planet Earth; see in Encyclopedia Hebraica, entry Eratosthenes, p. 801, about how brilliantly he calculated it.

Thus it is written about him: “Eratosthenes’s calculations — despite their inexactitude, inescapable in the conditions under which his measurements were made — are one of the most amazing astronomico-geographical calculations, and it gave science an (approximate) idea of the planet Earth’s size.”…

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Let’s just pause a moment to point out the obvious:

There is NO WAY Eratosthenes could have taken any measurements, in the real world, or got any data, in the real world, that would have enabled him to ‘calculate the circumference of the planet Earth’, no matter how ‘brilliant’ his equations might have been.

This is pseudo-science.

In case you were wondering how Eratosthenes pulled all this off, here’s what Wikipedia has to say:

He is best known for being the first person known to calculate the circumference of the Earth, which he did by using the extensive survey results he could access in his role at the Library; his calculation was remarkably accurate.

He was also the first to calculate Earth’s axial tilt, which has also proved to have remarkable accuracy. He created the first global projection of the world, incorporating parallels and meridians based on the available geographic knowledge of his era.

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In plain English: all those calculations were theoretical, made-up.

And today, there is still not a single shred of evidence in the real world that prove those calculations about the circumference of the earth, and the ‘Earth’s axial tilt’ is true.

Here’s how Eratosthenes is meant to have come to his conclusions:

Eratosthenes described his arc measurement technique, in a book entitled On the measure of the Earth, which has not been preserved. However, a simplified version of the method has been preserved, as described by Cleomedes….

The simplified method works by considering two cities along the same meridian and measuring both the distance between them and the difference in angles of the shadows cast by the sun on a vertical rod (a gnomon) in each city at noon on the summer solstice.

The two cities used were Alexandria and Syene (modern Aswan), and the distance between the cities was measured by professional bematists.

A geometric calculation reveals that the circumference of the Earth is the distance between the two cities divided by the difference in shadow angles expressed as a fraction of one turn.

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There is a lot on the web debunking the empirical nature of this experiment, but this one point should suffice to demonstrate the problem:

For Eratosthenes to be able to measure the Earth’s circumference, even assuming that he knew that the Earth was a sphere, he MUST also have known the size of the Sun and the distance between the Sun and the Earth.

And he didn’t. Nobody did.

But a bunch of heretical Greek philosophers had basically decided ‘the earth is a sphere’, and they spent the next few centuries making theoretical calculations basked on pseudo-scientific ‘experiments’ to prove themselves right.

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Let’s get back to the article about What the Sages Knew About the Shape of the Earth.

It continues like this:

Earth’s spherical shape was clear and known to the Greeks, as we stated above, but to our rabbis these matters were not at all clear and unambiguous, as we will show.

Bottom line: spherical earth is a GREEK idea, not a Torah one.

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In the Gemara, Chagiga 12a, it is written:

“Rabbi Elazar said: Adam reached from the earth to the firmament, as it says, ‘From the day G-d created Man upon the earth’ (Deuteronomy 4:32). But since he became corrupted, the holy One, blessed be He, placed His hand upon him and made him smaller, as it says, ‘You shaped me before and behind, You laid Your hand upon me’ (Psalms 139:5).

Rav Judah said in the name of Rav: Adam reached from one end of the world to another [Rashi: When he was prone, his head was in the east and his feet in the west], as it says, ‘From the day G-d created Man upon the earth and from one edge of the heavens to the other edge of the heavens….’ 

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The Gemara explicitly states that Earth is flat, for the first man laid prone from “the end of the world” in the east to “the end of the world” in the west.

Thus is written in the Shvut Ya’akov responsa (by R’ Jacob Reischer, born c. 1670), part 3, paragraph 20: “The words [of the Greek astronomers] are based on the notion of Earth as a sphere, in contradiction to what the discussion of this topic in our Talmud (Chagiga 12a) implies.

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Here’s another source that article brings (and then basically mocks….):

R’ Zerachiah HaLevi of Gerona (12th century) wrote in his commentary HaMaor HaGadol on tractate Rosh Hashanah 20b (found in regular editions of the Talmud on the pages of the Rif’s commentary), explaining the secrets of intercalation of years:

“The first [point] is the eastern edge [of the dry land]; its inhabitants live at the ocean’s edge in the east. The second point is opposite the first, at the western edge [of the dry land]; its inhabitants also live at the ocean’s edge, but in the west. The third point is between the first two and is called the navel of the earth; its inhabitants are those who live in Jerusalem and all of the Land of Israel. And the fourth point is opposite the third, under the earth; it is also between the first two points, and is called the navel or the heart of the sea, or the point of the depths.

Between each point of these four and the one opposite it there is a distance of 12 hours…and from each point to the next one there is a distance of six hours…When it is morning for the residents of the east, it will not be morning for Jerusalem residents until six hours later.”

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Let’s pause to take a look at this:

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This is Gleason’s New Standard Map of the World, put together in 1892.

Yesterday, I spent an hour reading through THIS – it’s a detailed PDF looking at 16 ’emergency landings’ made by airplanes, that make no sense on the ‘spherical globe’ model of our earth, but perfect sense when you use Gleason’s ‘flat earth’ map, above.

Go take a look at it yourself, come to your own conclusions.

But in the meantime, you can find a high-res version of that map HERE, and I recommend you take a look, and compare this with R’ Zechariah HaLevi Gerondi’s account, above.

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Next, we have this very interesting source, from the Jerusalem Talmud:

In the Jerusalem Talmud, tractate Avodah Zarah, chapter three, fol. 42c, it is written:

“That the earth is made as a ball. R’ Jonah said: when Alexander of Macedon wanted to rise above the earth, he went up higher and higher until he saw the world as a ball and the sea as a bowl.”

So R’ Jonah considered Earth as floating in a bowl of water, though it is not completely clear whether, in his opinion, Alexander “saw” the world as an actual ball or as round (like a ball) in circumference only, but otherwise flat like a coin.

From the words of Radak (on Isaiah 42:5) it is evident that he understood the world to be round at its circumference only, as a coin is:

“So the earth was round like a ball, but when the Lord gathered all the water which was on the face of the earth into one place for plants to grow on it — which is implied in the word vtzeetzaeyah  He made the earth, which is the dry land, as though it were flat, for people to sit upon it, like a man who spreads something and flattens it, like a silversmith who flattens metal plates.”

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Now, the article What the Sages Knew About the Shape of the Earth skips around 1700 years, to bring us a ‘definitive’ answer on the shape of the earth from a Rav we’ve been discussing at length, here on the blog, for a bunch of other reasons:

And now we will bring you the words of the Chatam Sofer, who lived close to our own time (1762-1839). He is one of those who taught his students “suitable” things without checking their veracity, sitting, rather, in his study hall and discussing the Earth’s build based on the words of Chazal and their conjectures. He did this instead of opening a science book and studying it to prevent tripping his students into error.

In his Responsa (Responsa Anthology, section 26, s.v. perek sheni) he wrote: “Now, some things and data suitable for students need, with G-d’s help, be clarified; they are about the foundations of this world, its build and the processes which it undergoes.

First: on the day when the Lord created the earth, He made the world of four elements: fire, wind or air, water, and ground. They have four natures: hot, damp, cold, and dry.

The earth is made of ground, and is the coarsest and thickest of all, rounded like a true sphere, and the waters surround it on all sides — there is no part empty of them, and the earth is not seen at all from any side.

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Moving on – because we still have a lot of ground to cover, and I’m deliberately keeping my ideas out of this post, as much as possible, so you can engage with our source material, and come to your own conclusions.

Next, the article brings the translation of the Zohar (part of which we also translated in detail, HERE).

But pay attention! There are two conflicting accounts about how the world is shaped and functioning here – and the Zohar says both are true!

Now we will cite the words of the Zohar, vol. 3, on the portion of Vayikra, fol. 9b-10a (according to the translation of the Sulam, sections 134-145):

“R’ Judah started: ‘And G-d said, Let there be a firmament in the water…’ — come see: when the holy One, blessed be He, created the world, He created seven firmaments above and seven lands below…and all these firmaments are one on top of the other, like the skins of onions which are one on top of the other…So, too, are the seven lands below.

All are settled, but some are above and some below, and the Land of Israel is above all of them and Jerusalem is the highest of all settlements.

The scholars who live in the south saw in the books of the early sages and of Adam that thus all those countries are divided. They are all below as the firmaments are above, that is, stacked one above the other.

Between each two countries there is a firmament which divides between the two, and so all the lands are specified by name, and amongst them are heaven and hell.

There are in these lands creatures different one from another as there are above [in the firmaments], some of which have two faces, some one, and the looks of one are not like the looks of another…Just as the worms in the earth have red skins, black, and white, and some have many colors, so too are these creatures different one from another, and they live only 10 years.

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In the book of Rav Hamnuna Sava it is explained in more detail that all the world rolls in a circle like a ball, these down and these up [that is, the creatures on the sphere are in opposition to each other, and the seven parts of the ball are the seven lands (the Sulam commentary)], and all the creatures in six lands are different in their appearances in accordance with the differences of air in each place, and they stand on their feet as other humans.

Therefore there are places in the world that when it is light for those on one side of the sphere it is dark for those on the other side of the sphere, for these it is day while for those it is night; and there is a place in the world where it is always day and there is no night, except for a few moments.

And what is said in the early sages’ books and in the book of Adam [that the seven lands are one beneath the other, with firmament between them (Sulam)] — thus it is [we do not disagree with it, although it says that the whole world is a single sphere divided into seven parts (Sulam)], for it is written: ‘I praise You, for I am wondered by awesome things; Your work is wonderful,’ and it is written, ‘How numerous are Your works, O Lord.’

So both accounts are fit [for both are the words of the living G-d, and one should not ask how both can be correct if they contradict each other (Sulam)]. This secret has been handed to the masters of wisdom and not to those who travel to distant borders [naturalists (Sulam)], for it is a great secret of the Torah. 

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Last quote from that mocking ‘What the Sages Knew About the Shape of the Earth’ article, then we’ll sum up what we’ve learned.

[W]hat does the Ramchal say about this?

In his book Adir BaMarom, part one, BeSha’ata DeTzlota DeMinchah DeShabta, he brought the above section from the Zohar and wrote: “And about these things Rabbi Simeon bar Yochai said (on Leviticus, fol. 10a):

‘This secret has been handed…not to those who travel to distant borders,’ for they [Gentile researchers] perceive only the external features, but of the internal nature, which is the main one, they know nothing.”

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In a ‘materialistic’, secular, atheist world, the true spiritual dimension, the ‘internal nature’ of the words of the RASHBI in the Zohar simply can’t be grasped.

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Ok, this is a screenshot of Matan Gorodish’s chapter with more Jewish sources on the shape of the earth, from HERE (the 20 min mark):

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And then, let’s end with this, which I found on Quora, which gives perhaps more of an insight into how the ‘inner dimension’ of the authentic Torah tradition can be badly misunderstood, when dragged down soley into secular, atheist, ‘scientific’ terms:

What is the shape of the Earth according to the Torah?

This is very clearly understood as a sphere.

The entire cosmology of Judaism is bases around spheres and spaces. The cosmology and physica of Jewish tehology is best presented by The Ramak. The dimentional perspective ie the psychological perspective is given by The Ari Zal. Both are explaining the same thing without debate.

The aproach of Ramak states that there is an initial state of energetic light manifestation that manifests as a sphere and then it creates a hollow center that is less bright.

This is Keter and inside Malchut.

The internal light then shines and manifests a yet darker sphere with three lights shining therein.

This is Chochma and Bina.

In Bina one side allows the light in and one side is darkened allowing lighy to leave outwards.This causes one side to be bright and the other to absorb light. The center is a balance sphere that is less bright.

The Bright side is Hesed, The Dark-Absorvant side is Gevurah and the center sphere is Tiferet.

Inside Tiferet the process repeats. One side is bright, the other causes light to be absorved and pass to Gevurah.

The central sphere is Yesod.

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Yesod is the sphere that we exist in.

Yesod can grow in brightness or get dimmer. Yesod has two parts that work together to allow this. The upper part is connected to The First Heaven and the Temple Mount of Jerusalem as well as to Israel as well as the entire area above it at all times. The airspace above Israel unto the end of the physical universe is part of this upper Yesod

The lower part is the Malchut shel Yesod and is connected to the area outside of Israel. This area and its airspace above. This is the purely physical universe.

Together they are a sphere.

The earth is most certainly a sphere in Jewish cosmology.

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In the next couple of days, I’m going to take more of a look at who actually introduced this idea of the ‘sphere earth’ in Judaism, as an actual, physical reality.

(Spoiler alert: It’s all the same people we’ve been talking about here on the blog for years, as trying to subvert Judaism from within…)

Watch out for that.

TBC

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PS: Two more sources that came to me as I was writing this, over email:

Isaiah 40:22, Hebrew original:

הֲל֤וֹא תֵֽדְעוּ֙ הֲל֣וֹא תִשְׁמָ֔עוּ הֲל֛וֹא הֻגַּ֥ד מֵרֹ֖אשׁ לָכֶ֑ם הֲלוֹא֙ הֲבִ֣ינוֹתֶ֔ם מוֹסְד֖וֹת הָאָֽרֶץ׃
כבהַיֹּשֵׁב֙ עַל־ח֣וּג הָאָ֔רֶץ וְיֹשְׁבֶ֖יהָ כַּחֲגָבִ֑ים הַנּוֹטֶ֤ה כַדֹּק֙ שָׁמַ֔יִם וַיִּמְתָּחֵ֥ם כָּאֹ֖הֶל לָשָֽׁבֶת׃

I bolded the words ‘chug ha’aretz’, as this is the bit up for discussion.

Morfix translates ‘chug’ as:

class, group activity; group, circle (of people); (geography) tropic, sphere

In the Artscroll translation of this verse from Isaiah, we find this:

Have you not contemplated the foundations of the earth?

It is He who sits on the circumference of the earth, with its inhabitants like grasshoppers.

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So, not exactly conclusive.

A second source is from Job, 26:7:

נֹטֶ֣ה צָפ֣וֹן עַל־תֹּ֑הוּ תֹּ֥לֶה אֶ֝֗רֶץ עַל־בְּלִי־מָֽה׃

Artscroll translation is this:

He spreads out the North over a void; He suspends the earth upon nothingness.

The ‘void’ is actually the word ‘tohu’ – as in the tohu and vohu that existed before Hashem created our physical planet.

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This verse was sent to me as proof of the spherical nature of earth.

But what’s really interesting, is if you read on a little. Like this:

He spreads out the North over a void; He suspends the earth upon nothingness…

He drew a boundary around the water’s edge, until light and darkness come to an end.

The pillars of the heavens shudder and are astounded by His rebuke….

By His breath the heavens were spread;

His hand fashioned the [earth]-girdling serpent.

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Go back and look at Gleason’s map, with the sentences bolded above in mind:

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And as always, draw your own conclusions.

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UPDATE 1:

Shimshon in the comments brought more information about the translation of the word ‘tohu’ in the quote above, that I think rounds out more of the picture, so I’m adding it here, too:

“The ‘void’ is actually the word ‘tohu’ – as in the tohu and vohu that existed before Hashem created our physical planet.”

Chagiga 12a (if you read on from the section you quoted), notes the use of “tohu” here like follows, also confirming the literal reading of Iyov (from Sefaria):

It was taught in the Tosefta: Tohu is a green line that encompasses the entire world, and from which darkness emerges, as it is stated: “He made darkness His hiding place round about Him” (Psalms 18:12), indicating that a line of darkness surrounds the world.

Vohu; these are damp stones submerged in the depths, from which water emerges, as it is stated: “And He shall stretch over it the line of tohu and stones of vohu” (Isaiah 34:11), which demonstrates that tohu is a line and that vohu is referring to stones. (Chagiga 12a)

Tohu and vohu are tangible things, not concepts (“formless and void” is the usual translation).

Tohu is a ring of darkness surrounding our world. Vohu, rocks that exude water, also exist, in the depths, exactly where the Talmud says they can be found:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methane_clathrate

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35 replies
  1. Shimshon
    Shimshon says:

    Regarding Eratosthenes, Dave Weiss has said he looked into this story and says there doesn’t seem to be any real historical record for it. I don’t know. Carl Sagan made use of it to false dramatic effect in Cosmos. The story is impossible as you pointed out, and proof of nothing besides, because it would actually work more sensibly on a flat plane, and makes numerous assumptions.

    Reply
  2. Shimshon
    Shimshon says:

    In the Jerusalem Talmud, tractate Avodah Zarah, chapter three, fol. 42c, it is written:

    “That the earth is made as a ball…”

    No! Did you get this translation from Sefaria? I know this gemara! The actual word translated to earth is “olam”. I have had several men counter my arguments by misquoting this very gemara.

    Reply
    • Rivka Levy
      Rivka Levy says:

      No – the translation is from that same mocking piece entitled ‘What the Sages Knew About the Shape of the World’, referenced above.

      Can you find the Sefaria original and link it here? I didn’t know the Jerusalem Talmud is up on Sefaria.

      Reply
      • Shimshon
        Shimshon says:

        Ah. My mistake. I was thinking of the Bavli. The Bavli says something similar about the shape of the olam. I am 100% certain that the word in the Yershalmi is olam too, just like the Bavli. There is no way it says the “earth” is shaped like a ball.

        Reply
  3. Shimshon
    Shimshon says:

    “The ‘void’ is actually the word ‘tohu’ – as in the tohu and vohu that existed before Hashem created our physical planet.”

    Chagiga 12a (if you read on from the section you quoted), notes the use of “tohu” here like follows, also confirming the literal reading of Iyov (from Sefaria):

    It was taught in the Tosefta: Tohu is a green line that encompasses the entire world, and from which darkness emerges, as it is stated: “He made darkness His hiding place round about Him” (Psalms 18:12), indicating that a line of darkness surrounds the world. Vohu; these are damp stones submerged in the depths, from which water emerges, as it is stated: “And He shall stretch over it the line of tohu and stones of vohu” (Isaiah 34:11), which demonstrates that tohu is a line and that vohu is referring to stones. (Chagiga 12a)

    Tohu and vohu are tangible things, not concepts (“formless and void” is the usual translation).

    Tohu is a ring of darkness surrounding our world. Vohu, rocks that exude water, also exist, in the depths, exactly where the Talmud says they can be found:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methane_clathrate

    Reply
  4. Reuven
    Reuven says:

    Regarding the quote (from Quora) on ‘cosmology’ (ie kabbalah), the Ramak himself (in his sefer, Pardes Rimonim) states very clearly that nothing described by the sephirot can be understood in a physical sense.

    There is therefore no validity in suggesting that just because kabbalah appears to refer to spheres in attempting to describe to us lowly physical beings these lofty spiritual concepts, that this can then be used to understand the physical shape of the earth. In fact, kabbalah as far as I’m aware more often refers to ‘igulim’ which is circles, not spheres. I don’t know if the term ‘sphere’ is actually used in Hebrew in these sources at all? Although, happy to hear from someone more learned in this area.

    Reply
    • Shimshon
      Shimshon says:

      The gemara describes the seven layers of shamayim above the rakia. Also in Chagiga, from what I remember.

      If other references to sphere are like the gemara, the word used is “kadur”.

      Reply
    • Rivka Levy
      Rivka Levy says:

      Shimon Bar Yochai wrote the Zohar.

      The confusion around the authorship is another example of where the biggest tzaddikim are ‘hidden’, and only found with hitbodedut and emunat tzaddikim.

      But it’s v interesting about Moshe de Leon perhaps being R’ Abulafia’s alter ego I’ll check it out.

      Reply
  5. Becky
    Becky says:

    Also assuming the earth is actually flat, why would there be those who want us believe that it’s a sphere?
    (I’m still in the middle of the three hour video you posted.)

    Reply
  6. adelle
    adelle says:

    that pasuk from yishayahu היושב על חוג הארץ is one of my favorites and was a turning point for me because rashi clearly states there that חוג is a circle, like a compass. so I don’t know where Nordic decided חוג is a sphere. further כדק השמים the mafarshim describe as a tent spread out and I envision the dome of the rakia tented above our flat, circular plane.

    as a young child I couldn’t understand where the rakia was in the “solar system”. no one could give me an answer. but then again those teachers were so indoctrinated themselves in the false model it’s possible they never contemplated the question at all…

    Reply
  7. Simon
    Simon says:

    People are now using “OpenGPT AI” or whatever it’s called to get “information.”
    You ask it a question, it’ll come back with the mainstream answer.
    People are so dumbed down that they think because an AI said it, it must be infallible and automatically the correct information.
    Oh, and it’s being backed by Elon Musk (may his name be blotted out).

    Reply
      • Yosef from the Galil
        Yosef from the Galil says:

        I did. Here’s the transcript.
        Q: What are the arguments in favor of a flat Earth?
        A: The idea that the Earth is flat is a conspiracy theory and has been disproven by overwhelming scientific evidence. However, some individuals who believe in a flat Earth may argue the following:

        The horizon always appears to be flat, and if the Earth were truly a globe, the horizon would appear curved.
        The idea of a round Earth would require the surface of the Earth to be constantly accelerating downwards at 9.8 m/s^2, which would cause everything to fly off the surface.
        The existence of Antarctica as a giant ice wall around the perimeter of our flat Earth, preventing us from falling off.
        There is no evidence of Earth’s curvature visible from airplanes or high altitude.
        The idea of a round Earth is a conspiracy perpetrated by governments and institutions in order to control and deceive the population.
        It is important to note that these arguments are not supported by scientific evidence. The horizon appears flat due to the way our eyes perceive distance, the surface of the Earth does not require constant acceleration as the Earth is in freefall around the sun, Antarctica is not a wall but a continent, curvature can be observed from high altitudes and with the help of instruments, and the scientific consensus on the shape of the Earth is based on centuries of observations and experiments, not on conspiracy theories.

        I then asked it —
        Q: What evidence is there of an intelligent creator?
        A: Load failed
        Something went wrong, please try reloading the conversation.

        Seriously. I tried it twice! LOL

        Reply
  8. Moshe
    Moshe says:

    I met an israeli pilot… asked him straight out matter of factly… “world’s flat right…?”

    he answered… “yes but we’re not supposed to tell u that…”

    proof of earth flat from yershalmi avodah zara 3:1…

    tosfos in bavli avoda zara 48a… I believe… refers to this yerushalmi… he says… earth is a kador… a ball… everyone takes this to mean a globe standing upright in space… like a basketball u hold up in the air in front of u…

    but inside the yershalmi the story is different from this…

    says alexander hamacedon was granted a miracle by Hashem… (obviously for sparing yerushalayim)…

    yershalmi says an eagle took him aloft so he could look down at the earth and he was shown and reported back that the earth was a sphere with the oceans forming a kind of bowl or dish beneath the land… a saucer underneath and surrounding the land all around the earth’s landmass which thus appears to hold up the entire land…

    so a globe correct…? seems pretty clear cut and dry… until u begin asking some very pertinent questions…

    like how far could he possibly go in the air on the back of an eagle…? few hundred feet…?

    or put better how high would he have had to be taken to be able to have looked down and beheld the earth as nasa astronauts purportedly do as a round blue marble surrounded by empty black space…?

    obviously there’s no way an eagle can climb that high naturally or even miraculously…

    and the gemora there mentions that he could see a vast swath of the earth for miles and miles around in every direction… and of course that would be impossible to do if there is this curvature of the earth where land disappears beyond a bend… unless of course he was after all way up in outer space and could see the entire globe or half of it at any one time depending upon the earth’s daily spin or self rotation as it hurtles through space traveling around the sun each solar year all the while somehow dragging the same solar system of star constellations overhead as it goes… instead of having constantly changing star clusters above as it speeds thru the universe formed with a seemingly infinite array amount and variety of stars throughout and yet we only see the same star patterns above us each and every year depending upon the season we’re in at any given time… utterly preposterous…

    also just as completely absurd and totally ridiculous would be the reality of this bowl or dish shaped water component holding up the entire surface of the land… for take a look at a globe depicting the earth… do the water portions look like they support the land portion from beneath the globe… holding up or containing the land portions within their bowl or dish shaped vessel…?

    of course not… on a globe the water is pockmarked… fitting into any space void of any landmass… certainly does not appear to be a bowl or dish from below the land…

    now go google a flatearth map… try the un logo for example… it’s a circle alright… but a flat one depicting the ice wall that surrounds the rest of the earth… the land and water and holds them in…

    alexander ascended high enough to get this perspective of the earth… a spherical flat surface with the waters of the world welling up from beneath the landmass and encircling or hugging the sides of the terra firma as if fitting the land on top of a shallow dish or a slightly rounded fishbowl with all of the earth’s surfaces… land and water… flat across the edges of the bowl or dish… only the water appears to be below the earth’s mass as well holding it all up or making it float on the surface of these deep lower waters shaped like a bowl…

    and there u have it… this is what he saw… the earth is flat… case closed… truth.out…

    Reply
    • Shimshon
      Shimshon says:

      Dave Weiss and others out there spreading the message say they routinely ask pilots the same question, and always get back a similar answer.

      There is a story, told by Dave Weiss, that some years back, a Qantas (IIRC) pilot came out publicly in some truther forum about this but was fired the next day.

      Jet pilots know, but they don’t talk. You can’t spend thousands of hours at tens of thousands of feet elevation flying at hundreds of miles an hour and not grasp the truth. They have a vantage point that makes it easier to see through the deception.

      Reply
  9. Leah Golan
    Leah Golan says:

    This is so wonderful this subject ….and from all of these resources, though will continue to research myself…and doing hitbudidute….i keep coming up with the conclusion that actually both exist, but it is so lofty to grasp….but i must tell you that the last time i traveled home to the states, i paid a pedion to the Rav for my safe travel and return to Israel….upon returning, you know, you go over countries and oceans….but when we passed the greek islands i was eager for getting that first glimpse of israel….it was mid-day and no clouds at all….and then like a hollogram israel appearred straight in my face and close/large enough that we were close to landing….i couldn’t believe my eyes….and know one listens when i tell them this….it was like entering another dimension….like israel maybe that in a sense….

    Reply
    • Rivka Levy
      Rivka Levy says:

      It could really be that ‘both are true’, but that the down here version of the world is a flat plain, but the ‘spiritual version’ is spherical….

      And / or, that maybe the rakia arks both above and below ‘the flat plain’, which would give earth a ‘spherical shape’, including the rakia, but still we live on the ‘flat plain’ bit.

      We’ll all just keep investigating and praying on it.

      What I can tell you, is that all this ‘birur’ by frum Jews is mamash moving mountains in shemayim… It’s clearing a lot of cobwebs out of the way in a bunch of different areas we can’t even begin to guess at.

      So, it’s all for the good, all this, whatever the ultimate conclusion.

      Reply
  10. Becky
    Becky says:

    Here are some questions that perhaps you or some of your readers may have answers to:

    What does כדור mean?
    See this: https://hebrew-academy.org.il/2014/07/09/%D7%92%D7%9C%D7%92%D7%95%D7%9C%D7%99%D7%95-%D7%A9%D7%9C-%D7%9B%D7%93%D7%95%D7%A8/
    And
    https://www.kipa.co.il/community/show/5622287/

    If it means a sphere or ball, then if the earth is flat, then how can you explain that the עולם is a sphere? What is the עולם? And is earth called- ארץ?

    If it means round (or round around one point), then how do you explain all of sources quoted here:
    https://daf-yomi.com/DYItemDetails.aspx?itemId=8328
    Could it be that girls used to play frisbee and not ball? Could it be that the mishna in Avoda Zara is referring to a round disc?
    I haven’t gone through all of the sources but the Bartenura in Keilim defines כדור as פלוט”א בלע”ז.
    Rashi in Yeshayhu 22, 18 explains it as a פלוטא and says it is something that is thrown and passed from hand to hand.
    Pelute means ball. Pluta is a cover or cork. So probably pelute, i.e. ball, is how Rashi holds.
    R Hai Gaon explains כדור in Keilim as איזברה בטיית.(??)
    If you see the first link listed here, it appears that it’s talking about a basket! See the Tiferes Yisrael in that same mishna in Keilim.

    The Mishna is Torah M’Sinai- this is the reality of the world. So what does כדור really mean?

    And to end with some comedy:
    I was wondering about asteroids. How they fit into the picture. The last known impact of an object 6 or more miles wide was 66 million years ago.
    There we go again with the sixes. And yes, I finished watching Matan’s presentation.
    חותמו של הקב”ה אמת
    What the gemara means is that Hashem sealed his Torah, beginning with Bereishis, with אמת (the last letter of each of the first three words).

    Thank you, Rivka, for bringing up this topic.

    Reply
      • Rivka Levy
        Rivka Levy says:

        I’m also pondering where asteroids fit into all this….

        I don’t know.

        Probably, it’s another subject that requires a lot of research, first, to try to see what asteroids have actually really fallen and when, and what the sources are that recorded them ‘in real time’.

        Usually with this stuff, making that effort to clarify things at that basic ‘ground level’ tends to give you a pretty good picture of whether something is really true, or false.

        Reply
  11. Adam
    Adam says:

    Daatemet is an atheistic website that regularly twists Torah and divrei chazal with outright lies, to lehavdil prove the Torah is false
    It was made by a lowlife who was a former Baal teshuva who went OTD

    Reply
    • Rivka Levy
      Rivka Levy says:

      Yes I know.

      It’s amazing how much of his stuff sounds exactly like what I read on the ‘Rationalist Judaism’ site.

      Reply
  12. Frank
    Frank says:

    The rabbis throughout the generations stated that the earth is a round globe. Take for example, those like the Kuzari, the Menorat HaMaor and Yakov Emden when discussing the date line. His contemporary Yechezkel Landau gave a haskama on a sefer that dealt with science- which asserted the earth is round. In the 19th century, Yaakov Etlinger whose Aruch LeNer is very famous in all Yeshivos wrote in his sefer on the laws of Succah that the world was round.
    And since we all respect R’ Nachman of Breslov zt”l- we should remember that he himself held that the earth is round- see the Lekutim- somewhere in chapter 1.

    Reply
    • Rivka Levy
      Rivka Levy says:

      I already covered in detail Rebbe Nachman’s take on the shape of the world, with references for other people to check.

      ‘Round’ doesn’t necessarily mean a sphere – it could also mean a circular, flat plain ringed with an ice wall.

      And Rabbenu described the world as shaped like a dreidel, which is hard to equate to ‘a sphere’ however hard you try.

      In terms of the other rabbis you are referring to, these are all relatively recent sources. I will get to the ‘heliocentric-pushers’ in the Jewish community shortly, and then everyone can decide for themselves, whether this idea is really such an ‘ancient Jewish’ idea, as you are claiming.

      (BTW – if you read some of the material already put up here on the site, it’s hard to know how you can claim that ‘all the rabbis’ say the world is round. Unless you are defining ’round’ as ‘circular’.)

      Lastly – if you would use a real email address, that would also lend more credence to your comments.

      Reply
  13. Moshe
    Moshe says:

    It should be very easy to prove whether the Earth is round or flat by flying around Antarctica and seeing how long it takes. If it is a small continent on bottom of a globe it will take a lot less time than if it were at the edge of
    a plate. Has anyone ever done that?

    About the asteroids, listen to the autistics. They have been saying for a long time that Nibiru/Planet X/Kochav Hashavit (mentioned in the Zohar) is passing near Earth and causing all kinds of natural disasters and strange weather patterns in addition to bringing thousands of asteroids along with it. The American number to listen to their messages is (646) 585 – 3064. BTW, they are all for the Rav…

    Reply

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