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I read that Gihon is actually the Nile and I was wondering how that’s physically possible considering that the Nile flows from Lake Victoria which isn’t remotely close to the Tigris or the Euphrates.

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    where did you read that Gihon is the Nile?
    – Esther
    Jun 13 at 18:46
  • I can’t remember exactly but it seems pretty obvious from pshat of the text. What other river flows through Ethiopia? Jun 13 at 18:47
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    Why assume it's physically possible?
    – Double AA
    Jun 13 at 18:52
  • Because I believe the Torah is true Jun 13 at 18:53
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    How is it physically possible for a snake to talk?
    – Double AA
    Jun 13 at 19:30

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The Ben Ish Chai writes in the name of the Arizal that Gan Eden is not composed of physical matter similar to the rest of our world, but something much more refined. He also uses this to explain how the Gemara in Maseches Pesachim 94a could say Gan Eden is sixty times the size of the world: since it is of a very holy and refined matter, it does not take up physical space as we perceive it.

With this understanding of Gan Eden, the pesukim referring to a river leaving Gan Eden and turning into the four rivers we know of today cannot be referring to something we would be physically able to observe, just as we cannot observe actual Gan Eden.

(Interestingly, the Ben Ish Chai is very skeptical of scientific knowledge, and writes at length of its limitations. His understanding of Gan Eden would seem to be purely based on Torah sources.)

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