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Who knows thirteen?

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. (What, you thought we'd stop here?)

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10 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

13 are the midos of Yishmael.

(Obvious, but it fits the rhythm!)

13 are the "mechilin" in Aramaic to correspond to any 13 "midos" in Hebrew, which we usually translate as "measures." If exegetic techniques are considered "measures", that explains why the exegetic work on Exodus is called the Mechilta.

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I would say "the Middos of D'vei Rabi Yishmael" out of respect for that fine Torah institution which gave us that braisa we say every morning! –  Yahu Apr 9 '10 at 23:05
    
And then forget about the rythm! –  Yahu Apr 11 '10 at 21:14
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Thirteen months in a Jewish leap year.

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Thirteen are the shofaros* in the Beis Hamikdash (Mishnah, Shekalim 6:5).

* Money boxes, shaped like a shofar (narrow on top, wide on the bottom, to prevent theft of the contents). They were used for various kinds of contributions to the Beis Hamikdash and its operations.

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Thirteen are the number of covenants associated with bris milah (Nedarim 31b).

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Thirteen years for a boy to be bar mitzva

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There are 13 Ani Maamins

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Thirteen is the Gematria of Ehad, ...which leads us back to... Bas613's answer at http://mi.yodeya.com/questions/378/echad-mi-yodeya/418#418 ! (Thank you Shalom! My short term memory is not doing too well these days!)

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"13" is today's Omer count, expressed in Base 7.

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As if it isn't hard enough to keep track. :) –  Yirmeyahu Apr 9 '10 at 18:12
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You're required to keep track of the Base 7 count anyway. –  Isaac Moses Apr 9 '10 at 18:34
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Thirteen(th) is the Maalah tovah that He gave us the Torah. (Haggadah Shel Pesah) (Doesn't fit the meter perfectly but you can squeeze it in better than my Zaidy used to squeeze in half of Kol Mikadesh Shivi'i and Baruch Hashem Yom Yom into their respective tunes!)

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Maybe I'm being dense (as usual), but could you please clarify what this is referring to? –  Isaac Moses Apr 12 '10 at 15:51
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In Dayenu (counting the "maalot tovot" we were given), "v'natan lanu et haTorah" is #13 on the list. Yes, the Zemirot of Kol Mekadesh Shvii and Baruch Hashem Yom Yom can be ... challenging to fit to music. The former works well with lots of filler syllables, the latter is perhaps best chanted rather than sung. –  Shalom Apr 12 '10 at 16:59
    
Shalom, thank you for explaining! Isaac, you aren't dense; I was not clear regarding the Maalos Tovos of the Haggadah, so I added in the word "Tovah". –  Yahu Apr 12 '10 at 18:19
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Thirteen are the number of knots and strings on each corner of the tzitzis (5 knots, 8 strings (four doubled over)).

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