Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Who knows one hundred twenty-three?

Please cite/link your sources, if possible. At some point at least twenty-four hours from now, I will:

  • Upvote all interesting answers.

  • Accept the best answer.

  • Go on to the next number.

share|improve this question
up vote 4 down vote accepted

When reciting Hallel responsively (the chazzan saying each stich of Hallel, and the congregation responding "Halleluyah"), they say "Halleluyah" 123 times. The Yerushalmi (Shabbos 16:1) associates this with the age of Aharon, and this is codified by Rambam (Hil. Chanukah 3:12).

In one of his talks (Likkutei Sichos, vol. 23, pp. 229ff), the Lubavitcher Rebbe zt"l explains the deeper reason behind this association: (a) this way of saying Hallel helps even those who aren't so literate be able to join in the recitation; (b) it means that everyone is reciting Hallel in unison. Both of these reflect Aharon's way of bringing everyone, regardless of their status, closer to Hashem ("אוהב את הבריות ומקרבן לתורה").

share|improve this answer

Aharon lived to 123.

share|improve this answer

Yitzchak, at 123, blessed Yaakov. (He was worried he'd die at an age within five years of the age of his mother's death, according to, um, someone.)

share|improve this answer
Rashi, quoting R' Yehoshua ben Korchah in Bereishis Rabbah 65:12. – Alex Nov 10 '10 at 21:42

W.M. Feldman, in his book Rabbinical Mathematics and Astronomy (1931, reprinted 1978), suggests a cycle in which 123 out of every 334 years are leap years (instead of the 19-year cycle with 7 leap years that we use today), so that it keeps better pace with the solar year.

(This is of course of theoretical interest only, since we don't have a Sanhedrin that can make any such changes - and when we do, we'll go back to having Rosh Chodesh and leap years set on an observational basis, so that there won't be any fixed cycles.)

share|improve this answer

Asher the son of Yaakov Avinu lived for 123 years

share|improve this answer

Yishmael was 14 years older than Yitzchok. Yishmael died when he was 137, so Yitzchok was 123 years old when Yishmael died.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.