questions about numbers

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19
votes
2answers
247 views

Why the custom to switch around negative-sounding numbers, such as שד?

Often in sefarim we find that if the number of the siman spells out something negative, such as siman 304 which has a letter value of שד, we switch it around so it no longer reads as a "bad" word. ...
18
votes
7answers
698 views

Why the vast difference of opinion about the age of the Universe?

5770 and 13,000,000,000 is a big difference! I am looking for a good explanation to the difference opinion of the age of the universe. Please help me out!
16
votes
4answers
1k views

Is there a list of Mitzvot and their corresponding body parts?

The Talmud (Makkot 23B)and the Zohar (1:170B - unverified English translation here) say that the 248 positive commandments correspond to the 248 limbs of the human body. (The Mishna (Ohalot 1:8) lists ...
16
votes
3answers
261 views

the aggadic concept of a finite number of words to speak

Is there any truth to the common claim that each person has a predetermined number of words that he can speak in his life? Source, please. If so, then how does it work? In particular (with sources or ...
15
votes
8answers
498 views

Why is “Shalom Aleichem” always plural?

Why do we say Shalom Alaichem to one person if Alaichem is plural? Is it saying you and all of the Jews? Is that why it's plural?
15
votes
2answers
922 views

How many of the 613 Mitzvos can we do only in Israel?

There are many Mitzvos we can not do in today's generation. For example there are no Korbonos, no slaves, etc. Per the Chofetz Chaim, there are 77 positive Mitzvos and 194 negative Mitzvos which can ...
14
votes
2answers
408 views

Which mitzvah is repeated the most times in the Chumash?

I have learned that not mixing milk and meat is mentioned 3 times in the chumash, and because of this we learn 3 different laws. I also found out today that the law "not to follow the ways of the ...
14
votes
2answers
195 views

Lechem Mishneh by the Third Shabbos Meal

Is one required to have Lechem Mishneh by the Third Shabbos Meal?
13
votes
17answers
411 views

Shelosh Meyot - mi yodeya?

Who knows three hundred? ?שלוש מאות - מי יודע In the spirit of the song "Echad - mi yodeya", please post interesting and significant Jewish facts about the number 300. Check out mi-yodeya-series ...
13
votes
7answers
1k views

Pomegranate = 613 seeds?

Has anyone ever counted the seeds of a pomegranate? Is it true that each pomegranate has 613 seeds?
13
votes
2answers
283 views

Am I allowed to count people?

Where did the practice of not counting people come from? People count not-one, not-two, not-three etc. What is wrong with counting one, two, three etc? This is often found when counting to see if ...
13
votes
3answers
489 views

Can someone have more than one potential soulmate simultaneously?

I have been told from several different people that it is possible for one person to have multiple Besherts (divinely intended marriage partners, soulmates if you will) to choose from. He may only ...
12
votes
5answers
222 views

What is the nature of the numeral “ashtei-asar” (11)?

What is the nature of the numeral ashtei-asar (meaning 11) as in וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁי פָּרִים עַשְׁתֵּי-עָשָׂר (Pinchas 29:20): What is the basic word? Is this using semichus, as in ashtaim of ...
12
votes
3answers
386 views

What happened to the bechorim (first-borns)?

In the begining of sefer bamidbar, the males between 20 and 60 are counted and it says that there are over 600,000 of them. Theoretically each, or most, of these people should have had a first-born ...
12
votes
2answers
101 views

How long did Chava (Eve) live?

The Torah tells us that Adam HaRishon lived for 930 years. Is there a source that tells us for how long Chava (Eve) lived? I have been unable to find any source that discusses how old Chava was when ...
12
votes
2answers
203 views

The 500 men killed in Shushan, and the 500 Jews who killed Amaleki

Is there a source to connect (mystically, or otherwise) those enemies of the Jews (presumably Amaleki) killed in Megillas Esther 9:12 with the 500 men from the tribe of Shimon who killed out the ...
10
votes
43answers
607 views

Meya - mi yodeya?

Who knows one hundred? Please cite/link your sources, if possible. At some point in the future, subject to holiday and user activity delay, I will: Upvote all interesting answers. Accept the best ...
10
votes
19answers
382 views

Shiv'a - mi yodeya?

Who knows seven? (I mean really, who doesn't?) Please cite/link your sources, if possible. In about one business day, I will: Upvote all interesting answers. Accept the best answer. Go on to the ...
10
votes
2answers
162 views

Are T're Asar split at all?

We generally consider T're Asar as one book (as is evident from Bava Basra 14:2). Are there any ways in which we officially treat it as twelve? (Possible ways I can think of that we might are: having ...
10
votes
2answers
260 views

What are the 30 Mitzvot for Bnei Noach?

What are the 30 Mitzvot (Commandments) that Bnei Noach have accepted (based on Hullin 92a)? שלשים מצות שקבלו עליהם בני נח.‏ Thirty commandments which Bnei Noach accepted upon themselves.
10
votes
2answers
329 views

When saying the Mi SheBerach prayer for a sick amputee, do you say “for his 248 limbs”?

The standard text of the Mi She-Berach prayer for the sick asks that G-d send healing "to his 248 limbs and 365 sinews." What if someone, G-d forbid, lost a foot a few years ago; and now prayers are ...
10
votes
2answers
281 views

What rabbinic/Judaic scholar has the lowest Erdős number? [closed]

From Wikipedia: The Erdős number describes the "collaborative distance" between a person and mathematician Paul Erdős, as measured by authorship of mathematical papers. ... Due to the very high ...
10
votes
0answers
87 views

Why do we write the number 16 as tet + zayin? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How could the numerals יה and יו be used irreverently? I understand that we write the number 15 as tet vav as opposed to yud hey to avoid writing the shem Hashem, but ...
9
votes
3answers
191 views

How did Avrohom learn that nine doesn't work?

The Midrash says (Bereshis Rabbah 49:13 quoted in Rashi Genesis 18:32) that Abraham stopped asking HaShem to save Sodom in the merit of less than 10 people because Noah and his family who were 8 ...
9
votes
1answer
146 views

A year with eight Sh'minis is plenteous?

I've heard an idea that a year (like 5772) in which parashas Sh'mini is read eight times[1] is a particularly auspicious one: the wording of the maxim is something like "sh'mona Sh'mini sh'mena" ([a ...
8
votes
27answers
341 views

Shisha - mi yodeya?

Who knows six? Please cite/link your sources, if possible. In about one business day, I will: Upvote all interesting answers. Accept the best answer. Go on to the next number.
8
votes
19answers
212 views

Asara - mi yodeya?

Who knows ten? Please cite/link your sources, if possible. At some point on Chol Hamo'ed, I will: Upvote all interesting answers. Accept the best answer. Go on to the next number.
8
votes
12answers
151 views

Chamisha - mi yodeya?

Who knows five? Please cite/link your sources, if possible. In about a day, I will: Upvote all interesting answers. Accept the best answer. Go on to the next number.
8
votes
5answers
571 views

Why do some people wrap their Tefilin around their arms 8 times?

I have seen people who wrap the Tefilin 7 times around their arm and some that wrap it 8 times around their arm. Why do the people who wrap it 8 times do so?
8
votes
2answers
215 views

How could the numerals יה and יו be used irreverently?

I was told that in the sequence of numerals with Hebrew letters, the numbers 15 and 16 are rendered with טו and טז instead of יה and יו to prevent the tetragrammaton from being formed irreverently. ...
8
votes
1answer
188 views

Halachic significance of the plurality of Jews living in Israel

I once heard that if Israel has the largest Jewish population, it has a significant effect on certain Halachot. What are the criteria for this, and what halachot are affected? (Shmita is the one most ...
8
votes
1answer
276 views

Differences between RaMbaM and RaMbaN's mitzvah count

I know both of the Rambam and Ramban listed all 613 mitzvos, and they differ in some (I think like 16ish?) What are the ones upon which they differ? If possible please include why they differ in ...
8
votes
4answers
107 views

Sefiras Haomer Counting

When we count the Sefiras Haomer, why do we count up and not down?
8
votes
3answers
104 views

Why were the Jews punished for 40 years if the spies were the ones who were there for 40 days?

Rashi (Bemidbar 13:25) implies that the Jews were in the Sinai Desert for 40 years in response to the spies being in the Land of Israel for 40 days. While the spies had 40 days worth of planning to ...
7
votes
29answers
397 views

Shiv'im - mi yodeya?

Who knows seventy? Please cite/link your sources, if possible. At some point in the next few days, I will: Upvote all interesting answers. Accept the best answer. Go on to the next number.
7
votes
20answers
339 views

Shelosha - mi yodeya?

Who knows three? Please cite/link your sources, if possible. In about a day, I will: Upvote all interesting answers. Accept the best answer. Go on to the next number.
7
votes
6answers
167 views

Number of Candles at Lighting

How many candles should one light on Erev Shabbos and Yom Tov? And why that number?
7
votes
2answers
264 views

Saying 100 Berachoth in a day

What is the source for the idea that one should say 100 Berachoth in a day, and how serious of an obligation is this? Is it mandatory, is it laudatory, or is it merely a nice idea?
7
votes
3answers
132 views

Esav is coming with 400 men - is there a significance to the 400 men?

In Parshas Vayishlach Eisav comes to meet Yaakov with 400 men. Is there a significance to the amount of men that were with Eisav?
7
votes
2answers
293 views

Why when washing for bread do we splash twice?

Is there any particular reason the procedure for washing hands for bread includes pouring the water twice on each hand? Isn't once enough?
7
votes
1answer
498 views

How Many Stones to Place on a Grave?

When visiting a gravesite, my Jewish relatives always place small stones on the gravestone as a showing of respect for the dead. They typically place one stone on the gravestone, but I find myself ...
7
votes
2answers
93 views

How large is a typical contemporary hagada commentary?

In a contemporary published hagada with commentary, how many total words does the commentary typically comprise? (For comparison, "Hagada - Mi Yodeya?", in its current form, weighs in at about 14,000 ...
7
votes
2answers
536 views

The blessing for 600,000 Jews

The Gemara (Berakhot 58b) mentions that upon seeing 600,000 Jews one says the blessing "Baruch...Chacham HaRazim" (Who knows all secrets), and this is halacha (Sh.A. O.C. 224:5). Does any know of any ...
7
votes
1answer
104 views

42 camps and 42 non-refuge Levite cities (Masei)

What is the significance of the numerical correspondence between the 42 camps or waypoints mentioned in the recounting of the forty years of wandering (Bamidbar 33) and the fact that 42 of the 48 ...
7
votes
1answer
163 views

Counting Sheloshim for a chol hamoed death

How long is the shloshim observed for a death which occurs during chol hamoed Pesach? Does one observe a full thirty days started from the funeral or is it shortened because of the chag?
7
votes
1answer
143 views

Why celebrate Lag Ba'Omer on the 33rd according to the MaHaRIL?

There are several different opinions about when the students of Rabbi Akiva died, and which days we mourn for them. Sefer HaToda'ah quotes the Maharil, who says that the students of Rabbi Akiva died ...
7
votes
2answers
80 views

Why not count 50 days of the omer instead of 49?

The verse in Vayikra (23:16) says: עד ממחרת השבת השביעית תספרו חמישים יום even unto the morrow after the seventh week shall ye number fifty days (OJPS, emphasis added) In my experience the ...
7
votes
1answer
205 views

Criteria for the list of Nashim Kesheiros (Medrash Breishis Rabsi)

The Medrash Breishis Rabsi Parshas Chaya Sara 23:1 lists 22* Nashim Kesheiros. כ"ב נשים כשרות היו בעולם ואלו הן שרה, רבקה, רחל, לאה, סרח בת אשר, יוכבד, מרים, בתיה בת פרעה, דבורה, צללפונית אשת מנוח, ...
7
votes
1answer
166 views

What's the reason for the opinion that one must wash their hands thrice before eating bread?

Some sects of Ashkenazim (mostly Litvish) wash their hands only twice, while some Sephardim and some Hasidim wash three times. Based on this answer I know that the first splash gets rid of the ...
6
votes
36answers
555 views

Arba'a - mi yodeya?

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.