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 one hundred sixty-six?

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

3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

The sun is 166 times the size of the earth (plus change). - Rambam, preface to Commentary on the Mishna

share|improve this answer
    
What "size" quality does this refer to? The mass, volume, and cross-sectional area ratios between these bodies are both orders of magnitude greater than 166. The closest I can think of is the ratio of their diameters, which contemporary observation puts at ~109. Was the Rambam referring to some other ratio, depending on observations that have since been revised, or depending on non-observational (e.g. Scriptural) data? wolframalpha.com/input/?i=diameter+of+sun+%2F+diameter+of+earth (Square for an area ratio. Replace "diameter" with "mass" or "volume" to get those ratios.) –  Isaac Moses Jan 13 '11 at 19:45
1  
The Lubavitcher Rebbe zt"l explains (see chabad.org/library/tanya/tanya_cdo/aid/7993/jewish/…) that the Rambam was referring to the sun's diameter, and including the protuberances and other such temporary phenomena (whereas the modern figure of ~109 refers to just the photosphere). –  Alex Jan 13 '11 at 23:01
    
Interesting! Any kid who draws a picture of the Sun makes sure to include the shiny points coming out. I wonder why the Rambam used such a precise figure to describe a body with such variable size. –  Isaac Moses Jan 14 '11 at 16:37
1  
@Isaac: the "shiny points" in your average kid's (or adult's, for that matter) drawing are meant to represent the sun's rays, not the solar flares and whatnot. :) Anyway, as for the precision of the Rambam's figure: could be, according to this explanation, that it's simply an average obtained by observation over a long period of time. (Nowadays we would probably round to the nearest significant figure or two in order to make it clear that it's an approximation, but likely as not that wasn't the usual practice in earlier times.) –  Alex Jan 14 '11 at 17:52

There is a lot of talk about the Christians censoring 166 years of the Jewish calendar. That would mean we only have 63 years left till the year 6000.

http://www.rabbileff.net/shiurim/ask/archives.htm

share|improve this answer
    
Also: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/35731 –  msh210 Feb 24 at 18:34

The sefer אברהם אנכי - חלק א here says:

Megillas Esther has 166 posukim (according to the ר' אליעזר מגורמיזא - רוקח) like the gematria of יַעְלְזוּ חֲסִידִים בְּכָבוֹד (Tehillim 149:5), and this corresponds to the number of words in parshas וַיָּבֹא עֲמָלֵק Shemos 17:8-16 plus the words in parshas זָכוֹר Devarim 25:17-19.

It also corresponds to the number of words in Hallel Hagadol (Tehillim 136:1-26) which says in verse 24 וַיִּפְרְקֵנוּ מִצָּרֵינוּ (and He saved us from our adversaries) - an allusion to Haman, אִישׁ צַר וְאוֹיֵב (Esther 7:6). And posuk 25 says נֹתֵן לֶחֶם לְכָל-בָּשָׂר (Who gives bread to all flesh) which is an allusion to the festive meal of Purim. This is the explanation of the answer in the gemara Megillah 14a as to why we don't say Hallel on Purim, because קרייתא זו הלילא - "reading it (Megillas Esther) is Hallel, and since it is called Hallel Hagadol (the Great Hallel) it is greater than the Hallel that we say on all the other festivals.

share|improve this answer
    
Is there an argument over how many pesukim there are? (My megillah has 167...) –  Double AA Feb 21 at 14:24

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.