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Who knows sixty-six?

Please cite/link your sources, if possible. At some point in the next few days, I will:

  • Upvote all interesting answers.

  • Accept the best answer.

  • Go on to the next number.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Yerushalmi Sheviis (end of 5:1) says that when a tree develops, it takes 60 days for the first 6 leaves to grow, and then only 6 more days for the next 60 leaves to grow.

שמואל אמר שיתין יומין שיתא עליי שיתא יומין שיתין עליי

Thus, it takes 66 days for 66 leaves to emerge!

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Checkmark for double 66-ness. – Isaac Moses Jul 28 '10 at 16:43

Following two weeks of tameh flow, a woman who gives birth to a girl has a 66 day period of tahor flow (Parashas Tazria)

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When Yaakov went down to Mitzrayim, the descendants who came along with him numbered 66. (Bereishis 46:26)

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66 are the degrees of longitude from the "western edge of civilization" to Jerusalem. (In the Rambam's times only the Eastern Hemisphere was known to be inhabited, so they spoke only of 180° of longitude, centered on a line corresponding to about modern 59° east of Greenwich. Jerusalem is 24° west of that line.)

(Commentaries to Rambam, Hil. Kiddush Hachodesh 11:17)

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Jerusalem is at roughly 35 degrees East; subtracting 66 that gives 31 degrees West. Conveniently, according to Wikipedia, "The Monchique Islet on Flores Island, located at 31° 16' 24" W is regarded as the westernmost point in Europe" (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azore_Islands) – Shalom Jul 26 '10 at 15:40

66 C.E. was the beginning of the Jewish revolt against the romans, which ultimately led to the destruction of the Temple: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Jewish-Roman_War

(well, at least according to a historical account. we know that the Temple was destroyed because of sinas hinam, but the Romans acted out the decree, and used the revolt as justification)

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Rabbi Yehuda Herzl Henkin has pointed out that in different places, Hazal blame: a.) the Romans b.) sin c.) incompetent Jewish leadership. He said that once there's an enemy and incompetent leadership, the natural course would be destruction; but we'd merit to protection from it if we were't sinning. – Shalom Jul 26 '10 at 20:16
I heard it in English on his yutorah shiur on das torah. He referenced a Hebrew essay of his, I think it's available on hebrewbooks. – Shalom Jul 26 '10 at 20:17

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