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That is not the early Israelite understanding of cosmology, it is Babylonian cosmology. Tannaim (eg R' Eliezer on Bava Basra 25a) and the earlier Babylonian amoraim mapped the Torah to it, much the way rabbis today talk about Relativity and QM in the Torah. The Babylonians and Persians had much much more accurate observations than the Greeks, so this was ...


There are different opinions regarding the nature of the rakia. One opinion is that of R. Avraham Ibn Ezra who writes in his commentary to Genesis (1:6) (Shitta acheret) as follows: והנכון בעיני, כי הארץ היתה מכוסה במים, והרוח יבש המים מעל הארץ כדרך ויעבר א-להים רוח על הארץ וישכו המים (ברא' ח, א) אז נראה. ובעבור האור היה הרקיע. והוא האויר ההוה על הארץ ...


The Rishonim help direct you to understand the Gemara. 1) They provide facts to understand the Gemara. 2) They provide Sevara, logical reasoning that helps you understand the conceptual underpinning of the Gemara. 3) They are the experts in the area. It would not be wise to study an area without looking at the experts. It would be like looking into ...


Although the Mishnah and the Germara are called the Talmud, the word "תלמוד" literally means "study" in Hebrew. So the phrase "תלמוד תורה" means the study of Torah.


From the Sefer Mei Ber Mayim Chaim chapter 4: pg 85 it seems that it is referring to Rav Hai Gaon.


It is the Rivmats, Rabbi Yitzchak Ben Malki Tzedek, from Siponto in Italy. A little more about him in the Wikipedia entry about him. The following source helped me find him (top of page 126).

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