21 votes
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Sources for the world being round in the Gemara

The Gemara in Avoda Zarah (41a) says: כדור שתופש את עצמו תחת כל העולם כולו ככדור It [The Idol] holds a ball as if to say it rules over the entire world like a ball Tosfos explains why ...
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15 votes
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Why don't islands read the m'gila two days?

I gave a Shiur on this last year. Here is my summary of the reasons to be lenient. Much of this is based on a piece in קובץ פרי תמרים אדר תשמ"ז by Rav Ezriel Kahn. (Its also worth looking up the תשובה ...
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  • 5,240
14 votes
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Where does the Maharsha mention the Bermuda Triangle?

You may be referring to a comment by the Rashash, who in turn explains a comment by Rashi on B'rachos 8a (s.v. כפיטורי בפי ושט). Rashi says: ים אוקיינוס יש בו מקומות שאינו מקבל ברזל ומחברין לוחי ...
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  • 16.2k
12 votes
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So where are these mermaids?

Dr. Leiman writes on the mouse that is 'half-mouse-half-earth" that, (p.452): "... it comes as no surprise that the rabbis discussed the status of a creature they had never seen, and one that ...
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  • 8,074
10 votes

Where was Adam created?

Targum Pseudo Jonathan to Genesis 2:15, ודבר השם אלקים ית אדם מן טור פולחנא אתר דאתבריא מתמן ואשריה בגינוניתא דעדן...‏ And God took Adam from the mountain of worship, the place from which he was ...
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  • 8,074
10 votes

Is it mutar to walk over the George Washington Bridge on shabbos?

According to Shmuely Wollenberger in The Coffee Room at The Yeshiva World Rabbi Schachter held it was forbidden. Rav Schachter and his wife used to go for walks on Shabbos. They would cross part ...
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10 votes
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Where is the Yabbok crossing?

It branches off the Jordan river, running eastward through Gilead, just north of Mt Nebo and to the south of the Bashan. Today it is known as the Wadi Zerqa ("Blue River"). See the maps on pages 38 ...
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10 votes
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How did Jerusalem get bigger without the Sanhedrin?

Halachic Yerushalyim is indeed still the same size (eg. for Maaser Sheni purposes). Shushan Purim is celebrated both in an ancient walled city and "adjacent" to it (Megilla 2b).
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8 votes

Where is הגר? The country, not the person

Yoni beat me to it, but I found a source if you'd like one: the Targum on Tehillim 83:7 translated "הגרים" as "הונגראי". The term is used so often all over Jewish literature to refer to Hungary ...
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8 votes

Why does the cave of machpelah have special significance?

The source of the name Maaras Hamachpeila could shed some light on this question. - According to one opinion in Eiruvin 53a, either Rav or Shmuel (the Gemara doesn't say which one said it) says the ...
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8 votes

Is there something shocking about the location of Mount Gerizim and Eval?

Rav Shimshon Rafael Hirsch (R'ei - 11:30) says that the language (הלא המה) implies that the mountains were already known to the people. He also says that their difference from each other as well as ...
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7 votes

Rivers in Genesis

In this article1, Dr. Juris Zarins places the garden at the north-western tip of the Persian gulf, currently submerged beneath its waters. As seen in the above image, from as far back as 6000 b.c.e ...
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  • 8,074
7 votes
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Israel-centric map projection

http://ns6t.net/azimuth/ creates Azimuthal Equidistant Projections for any point. Set Location as Jerusalem, and Distance as about 20,000.
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  • 8,163
7 votes
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Comprehensive map/list of active Orthodox synagogues in the U.S

Check out this site. Click on each state to get cities and then click on each city to get a list of just about (if not all) the minyanim in that city.
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7 votes

What was Yaakov's funeral procession doing in Transjordan?

Another two approaches by mainstream Peshat Mefarshim: Shadal here (and Clint Eastwood in the comments above) suggests that for Moshe and Benei Yisrael, Ever Hayarden is Eretz Yisroel, because they ...
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7 votes

Gr"A stating that Africa is [at] the South Pole

In my Mikraos Gedolos, I see the following quote (it's in his commentary to I:1:4): שם נטל חלק שליש במזרחי והוא אפריקי. וחם ויפת חלקו המערבי לשנים: חם נטל חלק הדרומי והוא אזיע, ויפת הצפוני והוא ...
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6 votes
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Geographic size of an Eruv

R Moshe Feinstein (Igrot Moshe OC 1:139:6) rules that according to the Ritva and Ramban the maximum size of a Reshut HaYachid (and hence the maximum size of an Eiruv) is as far as the eyes can see, ...
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6 votes

Where was Adam created?

The Gemara in Sanhedrin 38(a-b) says: אמר רב אושעיא משמיה דרב: אדם הראשון גופו מבבל, וראשו מארץ ישראל, ואבריו משאר ארצות, עגבותיו א"ר אחא מאקרא דאגמא Adam's body was created from earth of Babel (...
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6 votes

What nationality was Bilam?

According to Rabbi Munk, Beor, the father of Bil'am, was the son of Lavan. There are meforshim who say that the wall that his leg was squeezed against was the rock that Lavan and Yaakov put up as "Gal ...
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6 votes

What are the major regions relevant to Ashkenazi minhagim?

The very influential and authoritative Ashkenazi Siddur Sfat Emet and its associated machzorim and chumash include references to two distinct major minhagim corresponding to the ones specified by ...
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  • 6,424
6 votes
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Source for Africans being Caananites?

It's mentioned in the Medrash Raba - Metzora 17:6 that the Girgashi went to Afriki (sic) instead of fighting with Yehoshua. גִּרְגָּשִׁי עָמַד [ופנה] מֵאֵלָיו, לְפִיכָךְ נִתְּנָה לוֹ אֶרֶץ יָפָה ...
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6 votes

Where was Goren H'Atad physically located?

Chidushei Yitzchak ben Pinchas says that there were two locations known as Goren H'atad. One was in the Western part of Eretz Yisrael near where the Philistines were at the edge of the Yam HaGadol. ...
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6 votes

Where is the land of Sinim?

Da'as Mikra identifies it as Aswan. Apparently it had an ancient name like S'vene, and is meant in context to represent the southerly direction. In the footnote on that explanation an opinion is ...
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6 votes
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Which French/European city is "Kiryath Yearim"?

There are two places in France that were known as Kiryath Yearim. The place called פושקרייא - פוסקרייה - פסאקורי (Posquières) in Provence was known as קרית יערים. Per Wikipedia this is known today as ...
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6 votes
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Are Ra'meses and Ra'amses the same place

Ibn Ezra in his long commentary to Shemot 1:11 and 12:37 claims they are different places and that the Jews lived in Ra'meses and not in Ra'amses which they built. (According to this it would be a ...
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  • 95.2k
6 votes

What was Yaakov's funeral procession doing in Transjordan?

All the answers that I've come across suggest that Ever HaYarden does not mean Transjordan in the context of this verse. Chizkuni suggests that that the Canaanites who are observing the mourning at ...
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6 votes
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Where is נהר פקוד?

The following is found in this article כאשר כבדה ידו על עמנו, יצא ר' חנניה, בן אחי ר' יהושע הלוי, לשבת לבטח בין אחינו שבבבל, ובראותו עני היושבים בארץ הקדש מורה מאד, גמר בלבו ליסד תורה על ...
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5 votes
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Where is הגר? The country, not the person

Hungary. See this matzeva from Sighet, Hungary http://books.google.com/books?id=MF8LAAAAIAAJ&pg=PP11&lpg=PP11&dq=%22%D7%9E%D7%93%D7%99%D7%A0%D7%AA+%D7%94%D7%92%D7%A8%22&source=bl&...
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