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Who knows three?

Please cite/link your sources, if possible. In about a day, I will:

  • Upvote all interesting answers.

  • Accept the best answer.

  • Go on to the next number.

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20 Answers 20

up vote 13 down vote accepted
  1. The number of years required to establish a chazaka on a piece of property.

  2. Men (or women) required for a zimmun.

  3. Hours waited between meat and dairy in the German tradition.

  4. Ostensibly, the number of people in front of whom lashon hara can be told and it becomes repeatable (though the Chafetz Chaim points out that it is not really applicable).

  5. Number of times one has to ask forgiveness from a friend for wrongdoing.

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Hello Ariel. Welcome to mi.yodeya and thank you for your numerous and varied answers. Please consider registering your account by clicking "Register" and reap all the utility and benefits of being a registered mi.yodeya user. – WAF Mar 18 '10 at 17:10
Why isn't the word 'zimmun' appropriate for females as well? The masculine of mezumenet is mezuman. – Double AA Aug 5 '12 at 6:30

Three are the partners in creating a child (man, women and G-d).

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Three are the Bavas (in both Nezikin and Kelim).

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Both Nezikin and Keilim! – Double AA May 15 '12 at 4:32

On three things the world depends -- al ha-torah, v'al ha-avodah, v'al gimilut chasadim (Pirke Avot 1:2).

And the world is sustained by three things -- by truth, by justice, and by peace (Pirke Avot 1:18).

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Seasonal tie-in: shesileizeisim.blogspot.com/2012/12/… – Isaac Moses Dec 14 '12 at 16:48

יהרג ואל יעבר-Prohibitions that a Jew must die, rather than transgress: עבודה זרה- idol worship גילוי עריות- sexual immorality שפיכת דמים- murder

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actually there well may be 4 prohibitions that a jew must die for. see judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/53598/… – mevaqesh Apr 8 '15 at 19:31
@mevaqesh, fair enough! – Yahu May 13 '15 at 20:48

Three are the questions at the Seder (as presented in all the old manuscripts of the Mishna such as this one).

  1. about the Korban Pesach (Why on this night do we only eat roasted meat?)
  2. about the Matza (Why on this night do we only eat Matza?)
  3. about the Maror (Why on this night do we dip vegetables a second time?)

Three are the explanations given by Rabban Gamliel of the symbols at Seder.

  1. about the Korban Pesach (Because God passed over our houses.)
  2. about the Matza (Because the Jews left too quickly.)
  3. about the Maror (Because the slavery was bitter.)
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That (section of that) manuscript is in fantastic shape! – Seth J Dec 14 '12 at 20:16
(Hint: Rabban Gamliel is answering the Mah Nishtanah.) – Double AA Jan 3 '13 at 8:49
The first question in the linked manuscript is about dipping, not the Korban Pesach as far as i can tell. – Scimonster Mar 8 at 14:22
@Scimonster Yes. That's the Maror question. I realigned them in this list to help show the parallel. – Double AA Mar 8 at 14:27

בתי מקדש- Temples of Holiness:

1st, built by Shlomo, lasted 410 years, 2928-3338

2nd, built by Zerubavel (Some say he was Nechemia Ben Chaclaya) (Renovated by Herod), lasted 420 years, 3408-3828

3rd- שיבנה במהרה בימינו- May it be built speedily in our times!

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In the entire Chumash Braishis there are 3 Mitzvos

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A minimum shiur for a garment to become tamei -- shlosh al slosh (etzbaot) or shlosha al shlosha (tefachim). See perek bameh madlikin.

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רגלים- Chagim on which men are obligated to be seen in the Bais Hamikdash:

פסח-Pesach שבועות-Shavuaos סוכות-Sukkos

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Three sons of Noach: Shem, Chom, Yafes

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I believe his name was Yefes. – Double AA Aug 5 '12 at 6:27
It becomes Yafes at the end of a sentence (pausal form). Therefore, Gershon Gold is right and Double AA is wrong. – Joshua Pearl May 22 '15 at 9:40

Three Patriarchs - Avraham, Yitzchok, Yaakov

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Three are:

  • Sefiros are commonly split in threes:
    • Chochma, Binah, Daas (ChaBa"D)
    • Chesed, Gevurah, Tiferes (ChaGa"S)
    • Netzach, Hod (that's me!), Yesod (NeH"I)
    • Malchus (whatever, you can't have everything)
  • The children of Amram and Yocheved: Moshe, Aharon, and Miriam
  • Three are the festivals that have 8 days (in Chu"L): Pesach, Sukkos, Chanukah
  • Years until a boys first haircut.


  • The aliases of the Satan: Satan, Angel of Death, and Yetzer HaRa
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Sukkos has 8 days in Chu"l? How do you figure, especially considering I'm going to go out on a limb and doubt you sit in the sukkah on Shemini Atzeres? – Double AA May 15 '12 at 4:30
@DoubleAA Many people group Shemini Atzeres in, even though it's technically a different holiday. See for example aish.com/h/su/dits/62549892.html If you still don't like that one, it's ok! There are still eight other reasons! :D – HodofHod May 15 '12 at 4:41
Btw, from Sefer Haminhagim (Chabad): "On Shemini Atzeres one recites Kiddush and also eats and drinks in the sukkah, both by night and by day" – HodofHod May 15 '12 at 5:09
@DoubleAA When the Lubavitcher Rebbe had his heart attack (during the night Hakafos of Shmini Atzeres 1977), he insisted that he had to do Kiddush in the Sukka and on wine (chabad.org/blogs/blog_cdo/aid/1128440/jewish/…) – Shmuel Brin May 15 '12 at 6:20
@DoubleAA: indeed, the Baal Shem Tov is reported to not have sat in the sukkah on Shemini Atzeres. The practice today varies among different groups of chassidim; see Otzar Minhagei Chabad - Elul-Tishrei, pp. 347ff, for sources. – Alex May 15 '12 at 15:17

You have 3 days to make Havdalah. If you could not make Havdalah after Shabbath, you have until Tuesday evening (5th bullet point in the linked article).

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3 days + 1.25 hours on Shabbat afternoon. – Double AA Aug 5 '12 at 6:28

Three Matzos, Kohain, Levi, Yisroel

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You can recite Kriyas Shema up to 3 hours in the day

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...LeShem Mitzvah. – Seth J Jan 3 '13 at 13:29

Three are the days it takes to digest a KeZayith of Matzah. (Roughly)


And check this out - maybe Hillel was onto something (well, the Pasuk requires it, but Hillel made it cool):

(Excerpted from Dr. Harvey Babich Maror and Matzah Friday February 06, 2009 http://www.yutorah.org/lectures/lecture.cfm/731442)

Nutritionally, Romaine lettuce is a most healthy vegetable. The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) included Romaine lettuce in the list of dark green leafy vegetables that help fight cancer. The carotenoid pigments in Romaine lettuce act as antioxidants to scavenge free radicals, which possibly could damage DNA thereby transforming a normal cell into a malignant cell. In addition, Romaine lettuce is an excellent source of folate, vitamins K, A, and C, and dietary fiber. The high dietary fiber content of Romaine lettuce may explain the Talmud’s (Avodah Zarah 11a) statement that lettuce facilitates digestion by aiding the turning over of the ingested food. Possibly, this meant that the dietary fiber in lettuce provides the needed insoluble roughage to promote peristaltic contractions of the muscles of the small intestines to move the materials along the digestive tract.

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Three sons of Levi, Gershon, Kehos, Merari

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Three are the steps to a fuller you. I.e., the three Pilgrimage festivals (pesach, shavuot, succot).

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3 are the days before Shabbos that one cannot go on a boat trip.

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