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Who knows seventy-eight?

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

According to Rabbi Meir, witnesses who testify that someone gets malkos and becomes an eid zomem get 78 malkos: 39 for kaasher zamam and 39 for lo taane. (makkos 4a) (although the lashon there is 'shmonim')

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Checkmark for finding a significant incarnation of 78 = 39 * 2 – Isaac Moses Aug 19 '10 at 1:33

78 are the Jews who were killed by Arab rioters while on their way to bring supplies to Hadassah Hospital (a Jewish enclave in the middle of hostile territory) during the Israeli War of Independence.

(Though apparently according to the Wikipedia page, the number is now known to be 79.)

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Psalms 136:25

נתן לחם, לכל-בשר: כי לעולם חסדו

Both halves of that sentence contain a word with Gematria 78.

The Talmud considers it an important verse as it says that G-d provides for all living things; analogous to "Poseach es yadecha" in Ashrei (Psalm 145); in fact, if not for Ashrei's added quality of being alphabetical, Psalm 136 would have more of a starring role in our liturgy. Though this verse does make it into Birkas HaMazon.

And lastly, how could I leave out the comment from one student regarding the seminary cook, who was trying to stretch his ingredients?

הוא נותן לחם לכל בשר

"He adds bread [crumbs] to all the meat!"

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Zevachim 118:2 says that Caleb ben Yefune was 78 years old when the Jews crossed the Jordan River.

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78 is the gematria of לחם and מלח - we dip the bread in salt three times which alludes to 3 times the name of Hashem - 3 X 26 = 78. (Source IIRC Kaf Hachaim)

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