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Who knows four?

Please cite/link your sources, if possible. After Shabbat, I will:

  • Upvote all interesting answers.

  • Accept the best answer.

  • Go on to the next number.

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36 Answers 36

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Four are the sheep you give back for stealing and slaughtering/selling one. Bah!

Four is the minimum number of children (two boys, two girls) at which point Rabbi Yehuda Herzl Henkin and Rabbi Herschel Shachter would allow a couple to practice contraception indefinitely.

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3  
Way to expose important positions in an important area of Halacha. Of course people should make sure to consult their own Rabbi before acting on this information. –  Isaac Moses Mar 21 '10 at 1:03
6  
Yeah. Don't go stealing sheep before asking your rabbi. :) –  Shalom Mar 22 '10 at 18:03
3  
Is that what they are calling contraception nowadays, "stealing sheep"?! ;-) –  Yahu Apr 14 '10 at 6:08

Four men died without sins:

Binyamin, Amram, Yishai, Kil'av.

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1  
Shabbos 55b is the source. –  Bruce James Dec 8 '13 at 3:23

I know we all like to provide out-of-the-box answers, but I'm disappointed that I have to be the one to give this answer, and nearly two years after the question was asked - 4 Imahoth (Matriarchs).

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... levels on which to understand the Torah: פשט- plain meaning, רמז- hints, דרש- exegesis, סוד- secret, hidden, underlying essential meaning

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We take 4 Minim on Succos: Lulav, Esrog, Hadas, Arava (Leviticus 23:40)

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The number of columns (turim) of stones on the Choshen Mishpat. (Exodus 28:17)

Ironically enough, Choshen Mishpat is one of the Arba'a Turim. Which brings another answer: the number of sections in the Arba'a Turim and Shulchan Aruch.

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Four couples buried in Mi'aras HaMachpeilah in Kiryas Arba Hi Hevron.

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Four sons before Leah gave praise/thanks to Hashem (Yehuda). Four are the number of wives (mates) that Yaakov had. Twelve divided by Four equals Three sons per wife. Thus when Yehuda was born, Leah realized she got even more than her "fair share" and gave a special thanks.

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Four are the levels of the separative trop.

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the most popular number during the Passover Sedar. Four questions. Four sons. Four cups of wine.

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2  
..and the number of votes on this answer, so no upvote, sorry! :D –  HodofHod May 7 '12 at 23:17

The kabbalistic worlds: atzilut, yetzira, beriya, and asiyah.

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4 holy cities, Yerushalayim, Chevron, Teveria, Tzefas

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4 shades of white that constitute tzara'at. (Snow, plaster, eggshell and wool)

(Negaim 1:1)

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... are the earthly elemental states according to ancient philosophy and Kabbalah:

Earth (solid), Air (gas), Fire (plasma), and Water (liquid)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_element,

Midrash Rabba, Bamidbar 14,12, טבעים,

Zohar I, 27a,

http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/zdm/zdm021.htm

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1  
Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/22542 –  msh210 Dec 3 '12 at 3:46

4 animals mentioned in the Torah that have only one Siman of Tahara and are thus Non-Kosher. (Leviticus 11:4, Deuteronomy 14:7)

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We Daven four Amidos (colloquially known as Shemonah Esreis) on Shabbos, Yom Tov, and Rosh Chodesh

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Starting from the Shabbos before Rosh Chodesh Adar - or Adar2 in a leap year - we read what is known as the Daled Parshiyos - 4 special readings for the Maftir. Parshas Shekalim, Parshas Zachor, Parshas Parah, and Parshas HaChodesh.

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Four are the cubits of:

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Four are the levels of tum'ah applicable to non-sacred foods.

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four letter of the tetragrammaton Y-H-V-H which is ultimately the source of most things four you will find in the torah. see shaarei kedusha.

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There are four types of death by a Beis Din - Stoning, Burning, Beheading and Strangulation. (Sanhedrin 49b)

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Moshiach has four names. Menachem, Shilo, Yinon, and Chanina which spells Moshiach

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2  
@DoubleAA: Eichah Rabbah 1:57. Though it then points out that צמח and מנחם count as the same thing because they have the same gematria. –  Alex May 8 '12 at 19:37
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@HodofHod I don't know that it's -1 worthy. These are clearly all homiletic: if someone came and had all the rambam's characteristics of Mashiach and did all the things etc. but his name was Bob, I would still accept him as Mashiach. My point is there is no wrong answer for the name of Mashiach. –  Double AA Jun 18 '12 at 3:49

There are four shomerim - שומר חינם, שואל, נושא שכר, ושוכר. (Bava Metzia 93a)

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Four expressions of redemption from Egypt.

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Pirkei Avos Ch. 5:

4 times when pestilence increases - 4th, 7th, and year after shemitta, and after sukkos (12)

4 types of people - what's mine is mine etc... (13)

4 types of mindsets - angers easily cools off easily, angers slowly cools off slowly, angers slowly cools off easily, angers easily cools off slowly (14)

4 types of students - Understand quickly and forgets quickly, understands with difficulty and forgets with difficulty, understands quickly and forgets with difficulty, understands with difficulty and forgets quickly (15)

4 types of tzeddaka givers - gives himself and wants others to give etc... (16)

4 types of people who go to the Beis Medrash - goes and doesn't study, studies and doesn't go, goes and studies, doesn't go and doesn't study (17)

4 types of people who sit before chachamim - sponge, funnel, strainer, sieve (18)

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Four are the cardinal directions:

  • East/Qedem (Shemot 27:13)
  • South/Negev (Bereshit 24:62)
  • North/Tzafon (Yeshayahu 14:13)
  • West/Yam (Bemidbar 34:60)
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On Rosh Chodesh we have four Aliyos to the Torah.

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Four are the corners of the Mizbeahh.

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