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Who knows seventy-two?

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

72 woolen pomegranates and golden bells on the hem of the Me'il (robe) worn by the Kohanim. Rashi and Ramban (Shemos 28:31-33) disagree whether the two were affixed in alternating sequence, or if the bells were inside the pomegranates.

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Seventy-two are the minutes of Rabbeinu Tam.

It fits the beat!

A word of explanation: many people in America wait 72 minutes after sunset for the end of Shabbos, as an understanding of Rabbeinu Tam's interpretation of the Gemara. There are many, many other opinions about this, including those ask if 72 minutes at Rabbeinu Tam's high-latitude France would correspond to a shorter number in much of America, which is further south.

Seventy-two are the elders given prophecy to assist Moshe. 70 showed up, plus Eldad and Meidad who stayed behind and still got it.

The three most-popular words in Tanach with Gematria 72 are Vayelchu, Chesed, and Bincha. All of which appear with regards to Avraham. Not sure what to make of that ...

From what I heard, 72 was the target number of volumes for the Artscroll Talmud, but they spilled over to 73 (oops, tomorrow's answer).

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Other concepts that would fit your 4 mil/72 min. idea are: a) The time you must wait to wash for bread if water will only be available later; b) the minimum "non-bathroom" time to be able to say brachos (debatable); c) Amud haShachar; d)I recall R' Moshe saying 72 minutes about other mitvos (eg minyan) and don't remember the parameters. – YDK Aug 5 '10 at 23:16
72 for Amud Hashachar is the "commonly held" time, but there are good reasons to say that it is actually variable depending on latitude and season. ואכמ"ל – Dave Aug 5 '10 at 23:22

One tarkav = תרי וקב = three kav = 12 lugin = 72 egg-volumes.

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Seventy-two describes one of the Name-permutations of Hashem.

(Sort of fits the beat.)

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72 are the total lions and the total eagles on Shlomo's throne that faced each other, not counting the one that faced the ox. (Tirgum Sheini, Esther 1)

Doesn't really fit the beat.

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72 are the etzbas of the copper altar.

(It fits the beat better if you don't say etzbaos and you don't mention that it's the height)

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In Parshas Beshalach, there are three consecutive pesukim (14:19,20,21) that contain exactly 72 letters. By combining the letters in a special way, we can extract 72 three-letter sets which together form the Shem HaMeforash. The first and thirty-seventh set spell the Divine Name "Ani-Vaho," which was used during the Aravah ceremony on Sukkos (and which we say in "Hoshanos"). See Rashi Sukkah 45a.

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The number of cattle that went to Hashem via Elazar from the spoils of Midyan (Mattos 31:38)

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Continuing on Dave's subject:

1 Eipha = 3 Saah = 18 kabin = 72 Lug

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