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Where is the Sambatyon? Is there really a river somewhere that throws stones all week and rests on Shabbos?

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8  
If there really is one, someone should go there and see if it holds by Rabenu Tam or the Gr"a and finally put the matter to rest. –  WAF Dec 22 '10 at 0:22
    
@WAF what's the machlokes between the R"T and GR"A? –  yydl Dec 22 '10 at 4:25
    
NVM, I thought you meant there was a machlokes about the river... –  yydl Dec 22 '10 at 4:29

3 Answers 3

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Well, the encyclopedia entry on it says the earliest source is Pliny's Historia Naturalis, in which a river with similar miraculous properties is in fact reported in XXXI:18 (last line). The footnote there identifies it, citing a later source, as the river Eleutherus, which is currently in northern Lebanon.

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I once saw an article (don't recall where) that identified it with the Dardanelles, which separates Europe from Asia. Part of the author's idea was that it was originally called ים בטיון ("Sea of the Bithynians," an ancient people who lived in that area), and that got corrupted to סמבטיון.

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I believe it was Rabbi Wein who said the Sambatyon is in the mind.

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@inSeattle Meaning that it's imaginary? What is the deeper significance of his statement? –  WAF Dec 23 '10 at 19:54
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What is the source of this statement from Rabbi Wein? –  Gershon Gold Dec 24 '10 at 3:03

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