I hope nobody questions the fact of the spherical Earth. Just as spherical as all other celestial bodies.

Many argued whether we knew this fact or not, but I don't recall that those who claim we always knew also provide a reason for the Earth to be spherical.

The spherical Earth complicates a lot of things Halachicly and shatters commonly accepted ancient worldviews:

  1. There's no absolute up and down, there's no physical Heaven and Hell, so the very idea of G-d being "up in Heaven" or "coming down to Earth" can not be literal anymore.

  2. There's no absolute time, suddenly G-d and His Heavenly court has to stick to a specific time zone, it's Shabbos in one place and Friday in others. There are also two poles with no time at all (or all hours simultaneously).

  3. There's no absolute season; when it's Pesach time in Jerusalem, it's autumn in Australia.

  4. There are places where there is no day/night (poles) or season (equator).

  5. Sun and other planets are not orbiting the Earth (does not really matter Halachicly), but contradicts Rambam's Yesodey Hatorah.

G-d could easily create flat and simple Earth together with the firmament, just as our Sages saw it, but He didn't. I don't see a way that the Mitzvahs observance depends on that fact.

So why G-d created the Earth spherical? What are the Halachic or other Tora-relevant issues that favor the spherical Earth?

  • How deep would the earth be? If deeper than the radius of Earth, there'd be too much gravity. – Double AA Aug 5 '19 at 21:39
  • I don't understand why you think our sages thought any of these things. If you learn them, they clearly didn't. – Daniel Aug 5 '19 at 21:41
  • @Daniel "those things", "them" - not clear what you refer to. Please explain. – Al Berko Aug 5 '19 at 21:46
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    As for point 1, there's still an up and down. "Up" means away from the Earth's surface and "down" means toward it, just as they ever did. – Daniel Aug 5 '19 at 21:49
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    Do you assume that if a superficial grasp of the reality will get you the same Halachatic results like a more complex grasp, the complexity is unneeded?? You might as ask "Why there are pulsars, they are Halachaticly meaningless" – Alaychem goes to Codidact Aug 6 '19 at 6:29

God did not create the earth spherical. God created matter and the law of gravity. That law states that each part of a blob of matter wants to go to the center of gravity of the whole blob. Over time, every bit of matter inches its way towards that center of gravity. The only shape that allows all the mass to come as close as possible to the center of gravity is the sphere.

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  • I suppose you're familiar with the rules of this site. To turn it into an answer you have to provide some Jewish sources you rely on (besides the secular science) and level it with our tradition, which says G-d created the Earth on the first day, not matter and laws. – Al Berko Aug 6 '19 at 4:31
  • We can say G-d created ... to create the Earth round. Why? – Al Berko Aug 6 '19 at 5:06
  • By your logic, one can ask: Why did God create YOU? The Torah only says God created man. My answer was of the type: God created man and the laws of biology. – Maurice Mizrahi Aug 6 '19 at 14:57

Why are the requirements of physics not enough of a reason? Physics is also G-d's will, no less than His will as expressed in the Torah. This point is elaborated upon in "'Mysteries of Creation" by Rabbi Dovid Brown (with an approbation from Rav Moshe) and "Challenge of Creation" by Nattan Slifkin (baned by Rav Elyashiv).

P.S. if you think that this should be a comment, remember that mi yodeah is not letting me comment yet.

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    We have rules that are well tested for good reasons. Please play by the rules. If the system isn't letting you do it, please don't. Contribute meaningful content in appropriate places, wait patiently, and you'll be successful. – Double AA Aug 5 '19 at 23:21
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    I don't understand your answer. Physics is a tool, not the goal. I asked what was the goal of creating the Earth round. Nothing in physics would change if G-d created flat Earth with luminaries flying around. – Al Berko Aug 6 '19 at 4:34
  • This is intended as an answer. Is it against mi yodeah etiquette to answer a question with a question? Do I need to elaborate on the concept that physics is a type of goal, as I intended in saying that it is G-d's will? Also, isn't Maurice's answer included in mine? – Mordechai Aug 6 '19 at 21:10

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