In the second exchange between the stoic philosopher Antoninus, who was Caesar of Rome, and Rebbi, the redactor of the Mishna, they discuss the solar orbit—specifically, the nature of the sun’s setting. Although from a modern astronomical and scientific perspective of the stratosphere, the conversation sounds hopelessly antiquated or even buffoonish; a careful and insightful read reveals tremendously inspiring profundity. In illuminating the commentary of our Rabbis’ on this Gemara, this rumination effectively portrays their conversation as emblematic of the disparate spiritual philosophies and theologies of the Roman/Greco civilization and Torah Judaism.

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