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Who knows forty-one?

Please cite/link your sources, if possible. After about one business day, I will:

  • Upvote all interesting answers.

  • Accept the best answer.

  • Go on to the next number.

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8 Answers 8

up vote 3 down vote accepted

The 41st day is the earliest point in a pregnancy where, if the woman miscarries (G-d forbid), she is considered to have given birth and is subject to the laws outlined in ch. 12 of Leviticus. (Rambam, Hil. Issurei Bi'ah 10:2)

The 41st day after giving birth to a boy is also the day on which the mother brings her offerings (as described in Lev. 12:6ff), and is then allowed to enter the Beis Hamikdash and to eat sacred food. (Rambam, Hil. Mechusrei Kapparah 1:5)

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Your first answer just underscores the significance of 40 days being the formation of the fetus. Your second answer just shows the significance of 40 as the process of afterbirth impurity and purity when a woman gives birth to a boy. Unless you want to connect it to Shlomo's gematria and say that a mother is not an "Eim"= 41 until she has a "Mama's Boy" and that is why she brings the offering on the 41st day! Hmmmm, not a bad idea! ;-) –  Yahu May 24 '10 at 3:25
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True, but the point in both of them is that the 40th day itself does not count for this purpose. In that it's unlike, for example, the laws of a nazir, who may (after the fact) bring his offerings and shave on the 30th day (which is the day that his naziriteship expires) - though there too it's preferable for him to wait for the 31st, it's not an absolute requirement as it is here. Whether that's because of the association with "eim" - dunno. –  Alex May 24 '10 at 18:19
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Checkmark because I accept Alex's argument that there is indeed a 41-ness to these halachot. –  Isaac Moses May 25 '10 at 2:15
    
I accept Alex's argument as well. –  Yahu May 25 '10 at 5:34
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The 41st verse in the book of Numbers is about a tribe who numbered 41 (and a half) thousand.


A word with gematria 41 occurs in every book (and sub-book) of Tanach, except for Jonah. I have absolutely no idea what to make of that.

Although Freud would probably say it has something to do with him missing his mother...

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It wouldn't be him missing "his mother" because that would equal 47! ;-) –  Yahu May 25 '10 at 17:27
    
I think that Shalom meant his "mother". –  Joshua Pearl Dec 15 '13 at 16:06
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41 are the years that Yeravam (Jeroboam) II ruled. (II Kings 14:23)

This was the longest reign of any king of the Ten Tribes. He also holds these distinctions:

  • Under his rule, Jewish sovereignty over the Biblical borders of Eretz Yisrael was restored (ibid. verse 25).

  • He refused to accept lashon hara (slander) against the prophet Amos. He was rewarded for this by having his name listed together with the Judean kings (Hosea 1:1, Pesachim 87b).

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The 41st day from Rosh Hashannah is Heshvan 11th, Rachel Imenu's Yahrzeit (I heard it from the Rabbanit Yemima Mizrahi)

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Now there's another interesting connection with אם equaling 41! –  Alex Nov 23 '10 at 20:35
    
This is only true when Tishrei has 30 days. –  Double AA Aug 26 '12 at 22:59
    
@DoubleAA, Are there any years in which Tishrei doesn't have 30 days?? –  Lea Cohen Aug 27 '12 at 5:02
    
@LeaCohen Sure! Approximately half of those that occurred between Yetziat Mitzrayim and the fixing of the calendar (~375CE). –  Double AA Aug 27 '12 at 5:04
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@DoubleAA, OK, I was talking about the time after the fixing of the calendar... :) –  Lea Cohen Aug 27 '12 at 5:11
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The gematria of mother. (Aleph-Mem) ( Kibud av va-am.)

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41 is nullified.

Alternatively

"41 is doing zilch!"

(The gematria of בטל)

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The deeper meaning of my two answers is that I am finding it extremely difficult to find any significance to 41. If the only significance one can find is arbitrary numerological associations then we are in "bitul" zone! –  Yahu May 24 '10 at 2:13
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!לא דבר רק הוא מכם –  Alex May 24 '10 at 2:39
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Yes, it is my "emptiness" that I was expressing; not any emptiness of the Torah- Everything is in it! Your Yeravam answer shows that. –  Yahu May 24 '10 at 3:19
    
After thinking about your answer regarding the mother's offering and its connection to Shlomo's answer there may be even more to 41 than I thought. It was definitely "מכם" or rather "ממני"! –  Yahu May 24 '10 at 3:29
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I still stand by my comment about "arbitrary numerological associations". Just a gematria is not a very significant answer, but Alex, you gave it some טעם - (taste;reasoning) (perhaps without intending to do so) and now my brain is racing. –  Yahu May 24 '10 at 3:35
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41 years from Ever's death to Yitzchak's.

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41 is the times that Yirah (meaning awe/fear, not sight) appears in Torah.

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