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According to the Talmud (Makos 23b) "Moshe received 613 Mitzvos. They are 365 Lavim (negative commandments), corresponding to the days of the (solar) year, and 248 Mitzvos Aseh (positive commandments), corresponding to the limbs in a man".

This seems to beg the question — so why did God create the world such that there are 365 days to the year, and why 248 limbs in a man?

Does anyone know if there is a higher significance to these numbers?

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Perhaps the Torah came first and God made the world to have 365 days and 248 limbs in a man to correspond to the 613 mitzvot. –  Daniel Jun 11 '13 at 18:27
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That's definitely not the question I thought you going to ask; especially when you said that it "seems to be the question". I think you need a new title. Nothing particularly clever comes to me at the moment, but how about, "Why are there 365 days in a year and 248 limbs in a man?" –  Seth J Jun 11 '13 at 18:37
    
    
hebrewbooks.org/… –  Gershon Gold Jun 11 '13 at 18:45
    
@Daniel and why does the torah have 613 mitzvot? –  ray Jun 11 '13 at 20:48
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2 Answers

Tikkunei Zohar (introduction, 4b, passim) associates these with the verse (Ex. 3:15, זה שמי לעלם וזה זכרי לדר דר - "This is My name forever, and this is My remembrance for all generations."

The reference there is to the Four-Lettered Name of Hashem, י-ה-ו-ה. Each of the terms in that verse ("My Name" and "My remembrance"), then, relates to one half of that Name. Thus, says the Zohar:

שמי + י-ה equals 365;
זכרי + ו-ה equals 248.

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perhaps tied in to the image of God which man was created in, hence man has 248 limbs and 365 sinews. sounds like the tip of the iceberg to a big kabalistic discussion –  ray Jun 13 '13 at 17:29
    
There is a Maamar from the Baal HaTanya in Torah Ohr that talks about why "י-ה" is associated with the negative commandments, and "ו-ה" with the positive. I don't remember which Maamar it is offhand. - here's several of them: chabadlibrary.org/books/… –  Menachem Jun 14 '13 at 17:39
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I don't know if there is a higher meaning to these numbers, but the fundamental idea that Chazal seem to be saying is that the Torah is all encompassing and every aspect of a person's life must be directed by Torah, its values and goals.

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