Take the 2-minute tour ×
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. It's 100% free, no registration required.

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.

share|improve this question
add comment

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.

share|improve this answer
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
add comment

Four is number of angels, faces, wings and hands (on each angel) of Yechzkiel's vision

share|improve this answer
add comment

There are four verses in Megillas Esther which the listeners read out loud.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Four are the number of ages at which Chazal recommend that one should get married, each one more optimal than the next:

Fourteen, Sixteen, Eighteen and Twenty.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Four is the number of cities King Nimrod sacrificed when he abandoned the cause of the Tower of Babel: Babel, Erech, Achad, and Kaleh.

Four is also the number of cities he was able to build as a reward once he got to Ashur: Ninveh, Rehoboth Ir, Kalah, and the great city, Resen.

(Gen 10:10-12, Targum Pseudo Jonathan ibid)

share|improve this answer
add comment

There are 2 which are subdivided into FOUR ways to move something from a private domain to a public domain on Shabbos (Shabbos Mishna 1:1)

share|improve this answer
add comment

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.

share|improve this answer
add comment

On Rosh Chodesh we have four Aliyos to the Torah.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Four are the corners of the Mizbeahh.

share|improve this answer
add comment

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)
share|improve this answer
add comment

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.

share|improve this answer
add comment

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

share|improve this answer
add comment

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

share|improve this answer
add comment

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

share|improve this answer
add comment

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

share|improve this answer
add comment

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.

share|improve this answer
add comment

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)

share|improve this answer
add comment

Four expressions of redemption from Egypt.

share|improve this answer
add comment

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

share|improve this answer
add comment

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

share|improve this answer
show 1 more comment

Four is the lowest age of chinuch for standard mitzvos.

share|improve this answer
show 1 more comment

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

share|improve this answer
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
1  
@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
show 3 more comments

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).

share|improve this answer
add comment

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

(Negaim 1:1)

share|improve this answer
add comment

4 holy cities, Yerushalayim, Chevron, Teveria, Tzefas

share|improve this answer
add comment

... 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

share|improve this answer
1  
Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/22542 –  msh210 Dec 3 '12 at 3:46
add comment

Four men died without sins:

Binyamin, Amram, Yishai, Kil'av.

share|improve this answer
1  
Shabbos 55b is the source. –  Bruce James Dec 8 '13 at 3:23
add comment

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

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

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.