questions about numbers

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21
votes
7answers
969 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!
19
votes
2answers
267 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
4answers
2k 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 ...
17
votes
5answers
305 views

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

What is the nature of the numeral ashtei-asar (meaning 11) as in (BeMidbar 29:20, Parashat Pinchas): וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁי פָּרִים עַשְׁתֵּי-עָשָׂר What is the basic word? Is this using ...
16
votes
2answers
239 views

Lechem Mishneh by the Third Shabbos Meal

Is one required to have Lechem Mishneh by the Third Shabbos Meal?
16
votes
3answers
311 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 ...
16
votes
4answers
1k views

Why isn't the Kabbalistic doctrine of Sefirot considered Shittuf if the Christian Trinity is?

From the answers to this question it seems that most if not all Jewish sources treat Trinitarian Christianity (in particular, their doctrine of the Trinity) as either Shittuf or outright Avoda Zara, ...
15
votes
8answers
628 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
1k 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
616 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 ...
13
votes
17answers
439 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
2k 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
336 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
667 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
192 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
3answers
428 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
211 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 ...
11
votes
21answers
452 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 ...
11
votes
5answers
949 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?
11
votes
2answers
441 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
250 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 ...
10
votes
27answers
393 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.
10
votes
42answers
643 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
3answers
141 views

Why is every 3rd plague (of the 10 brought on Pharoah) unnanounced?

It seems like every plague was warned by Moshe to Paroah except for the 3rd - lice, 6th - boils and 9th - darkness. Why is that? Is there something special about these plagues?
10
votes
2answers
357 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
165 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
3answers
213 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
397 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
394 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
3answers
203 views

י-ו as a name of Hashem

Sometimes the letters י-ו seem to serve as a name of Hashem. For example, many authors replace י-ו with טז in a numbering system, presumably so as to not write Hashem's name, similar to replacing י-ה ...
10
votes
0answers
94 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
2answers
717 views

Why do people keep saying 12 tribes of Israel when there are 13?

The Encyclopædia Britannica article “Twelve Tribes of Israel” says (emphasis added), Jacob’s first wife, Leah, bore him six sons: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun. Each was the ...
9
votes
1answer
162 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
19answers
222 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
20answers
396 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.
8
votes
12answers
174 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
2answers
267 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
3answers
156 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?
8
votes
1answer
222 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
2answers
924 views

How do you know when to make Chacham Harazim if you can't count Jews?

As I understand it, "Chacham harazim" is the bracha we make upon seeing an assembly of more than 600,000 Jews. I'm not clear on the exact detail of this law/tradition, but I also know we are not ...
8
votes
2answers
730 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
111 views

Sefiras Haomer Counting

When we count the Sefiras Haomer, why do we count up and not down?
8
votes
2answers
120 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
149 views

Is there a limit to the number of names you can give someone?

I have two Hebrew names. One of my sons has 3. Many people I know have 3; someone I called to the Torah had 4. At 3, people who have to address you often, (rebbes, teachers) seem to get confused. ...
7
votes
29answers
431 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
3answers
339 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
6answers
209 views

Number of Candles at Lighting

How many candles should one light on Erev Shabbos and Yom Tov? And why that number?
7
votes
4answers
127 views

Arba'a Ve'esrim Ushlosh Meyot - mi yodeya?

Who knows three hundred twenty-four? ?ארבעה ועשרים ושלוש מאות - מי יודע The traditional Passover song "Echad - mi yodeya" implies a possible presupposition that there is a Jewish significance to be ...
7
votes
1answer
175 views

Why is the hard limit for the size of a beis din 71 members?

When a beis din is undecided (e.g. when adjudicating monetary cases or Dinei Nefashos), judges can be added until the beis din reaches a maximum size of 71. Why is a beis din's maximum size 71? Why ...
7
votes
3answers
391 views

Why do some pairs of Tzitzit have one hole on each corner and some have two?

There are Tzitzit that have one hole and some have two. What is the significance of the multiple holes? Whose custom is it to have one? Whose custom is it to have two?