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Who knows twelve?

Please cite/link your sources, if possible. After about one business day, I will:

  • Upvote all interesting answers.

  • Accept the best answer.

  • Go on to the next number.

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8 Answers 8

up vote 2 down vote accepted

"Twelve" is a common mistake people make when encountering the Biblical term for eleven, עשתי עשר

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Checkmark for being potentially helpful. –  Isaac Moses Apr 9 '10 at 16:50

There were 12 paths through the Yam Suf.

12 were the grandsons of Rachel (10 from binyamin, 2 from yosef).

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According to ספר יצירה there are 3 mother letters (אמש),

7 double letters (בגדכפרת),

and 12 elemental or simple letters (הוזחטילנסעצק).

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Thanks for your answer, and welcome to Mi Yodeya! Please consider registering your account, which will give you access to more of the site's features. –  msh210 Jan 9 at 18:37

Twelve are the number of lines of a get - a bill of divorce, and this is hinted to by the gematria of the Hebrew word גט, as the first Tosafos in the gemara Gittin writes in the name of Rabbeinu Tam.

And there is another number twelve connected to this one, as explained in the sefer אמרי שפר:

The main reason why there are twelve lines in a get is to allude to the severing of the connection between a man and his wife through this bill of divorce. Because the connection between them comprises twelve things which they are obligated one to the other: The man is obligated in three things - sustenance, clothing and marital relations, and the woman is obligated in the nine things* which are mentioned in the gemara in Kesuvos 59b, and through the giving of a get these twelve things become annulled.

* The Mishnah there lists seven things which include הצעת המטה - making the bed, and the gemara adds three more which also include הצעת המטה, and Rashi and Tosafos explain that there are two types of הצעת המטה. Nevertheless, since they are practically the same thing we can consider them as one and thus she is obligated in nine things, not ten.

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The Lechem HaPanim in the Bais HaMikdash consisted of 12 breads

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Twelve are the sons of Yishmael. (Beraishis 25,16)

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Would have won for preserving the meter of the English song if you'd included the "are the." –  Isaac Moses Apr 9 '10 at 16:51

Twelve months is the maximum length of a human pregnancy (Shulchan Aruch, Even HaEzer 4:14).

Interestingly, there are a number of places in Chassidus (for example, here) where it is stated that the prophet Eliyahu was born after a pregnancy of this length.

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Twelve proportional hours in an "Onah".

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