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Who knows seventy-seven?

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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4 Answers 4

up vote 4 down vote accepted

The (figurative) number of generations that Lemech will be allowed to continue on. Breishis 4:24 based on Rashi and other mephorshim.

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77 are the number of sheep offered as korbanos by the returnees of the Babylonian exile. (Ezra 8:35)

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77 are the number of contemporary tzaddikim whose merit Moshe invoked to save the Jewish People after the sin of the Golden Calf: Aharon, his four sons, Pinchas, Calev, and the seventy elders. Hashem demanded the merits of eighty tzaddikim, though, and so Moshe filled the bill by invoking also the three Patriarchs. (Devarim Rabbah 3:15)

Incidentally, in another midrash (Shemos Rabbah 44:7) the seventy elders are omitted, and Moshe speaks only of seven contemporary tzaddikim plus the Patriarchs. There is a story in which R' Shneur Zalman of Liadi, questioned on this point by one of his opponents, resolved it by referring to a dispute elsewhere about whether each tribe is considered a separate "community" (in which case each one needs the merits of ten tzaddikim) or not (and then ten suffice for the entire nation).

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Genesis 24:14 contains the phrase:

עשית חסד

"You have done kindness"

What's neat about it is that both of those words appears exactly 77 times in Tanach. And the verse concludes with אדוני, which appears 77 times in Chumash (mostly Chol, I assume).

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