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Following "zohars-knowledge-about-earths-shape" and related to my other question "why-did-G-d-create-the-earth-spherical":

Zohar (Vayikra 10a) states the following, seemingly pointing to the fact that the Earth is spherical (I don't question that):

וּבְסִפְרָא דְּרַב הַמְנוּנָא סָבָא, פָּרִישׁ יַתִּיר, דְּהָא כָּל יִשׁוּבָא מִתְגַּלְגְּלָא בְּעִגוּלָא כַּכַּדּוּר... ועַל דָּא אִית אֲתַר בְּיִשּׁוּבָא, כַּד נָהִיר לְאִלֵּין, חָשִׁיךְ לְאִלֵּין, לְאִלֵּין יְמָמָא, וּלְאִלֵּין לֵילְיָא. וְאִית אֲתַר דְּכוּלֵיהּ יְמָמָא, וְלָא אִשְׁתְּכַח בֵּיהּ לֵילְיָא, בַּר בְּשַׁעֲתָא חֲדָא זְעֵירָא.

It continues:

וְרָזָא דָּא אִתְמְסַר לְמָארֵיהוֹן דְּחָכְמְתָא, וְלָא לִמְפָלְגֵי תְּחוּמִין, בְּגִין דְּאִיהוּ רָזָא עֲמִיקָא דְּאוֹרַיְיתָא.

In short: "And this secret was passed to the Greatest Sages as this is Torah's deep secret".

Why an empirical fact, freely available for observation for all is referred to as "a deep secret"?

  • Perhaps the author is referring to the "why" rather than the "that"; or to the relationship in the lines you skipped; (and/or perhaps it was not freely available for observation at the time of writing); ... – Loewian Aug 19 at 15:46
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    @Loewian the technology to build a Foucault pendulum was around back then too. – Double AA Aug 19 at 15:59
  • @DoubleAA The Greeks proved that the Earth was spherical back in the third century BCE, with the concept dating three centuries further back, according to Wikipedia. Not sure if it was common knowledge, per se, but certainly calculable by Mishnaic times, assuming R’ Shimon wrote the Zohar, and certainly by later times if you assume he didn’t. – DonielF Aug 20 at 2:39
  • Maybe related to another empirical fact Sod Ha'Ibbur: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/25641/… – Al Berko Aug 20 at 4:49
  • It is entirely likely that The Zohar is not to be taken only literally and that it hints at something deeper. Generally things night be considered סודות because people might be magshim HaShem chas v'shalom or because of the kavod required to learn these things. It should be pointed out that nowadays many if not most printed authorities permit and encourage the learning Kaballah with certain requirements i.e. learning proper hakdammah seforim and the proper intent. Obviously not stuff from lehavdil phony organizations like The K Center. – Meuchedet Aug 20 at 19:25

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