Who knows two hundred seventy-two?

Please cite/link your sources, if possible.

At some undetermined point in the future, at least a day from now, I will:

  • Vote up all interesting, relevant answers.

  • Accept what I consider the "best" answer.

  • Move on to the next number.

In case this is the last entry before Rosh Hashanna: Shanna Tova!


4 Answers 4


Certain numbers in Hebrew are not written in the normal form. 15 would normally be written yud/hey, but because this spells a name of Hashem, it is customarily written tes/vav The same is true of tes/zayin, 16, instead of yud/vav.

The number 272 is also not written in the regular pattern, since the regular pattern would spell a word with a negative connotation. 272 would normally be spelled resh/ayin/bais which spells ra'av meaning "famine." Since the normal way to write this numbers spells a word with a negative connotation, it is written out of order.


Per the Seder Olom Zuta from the Mabul till the Dor Haflaga was 272 years.


There were 272 delegates to the B'nai B'rith convention in Fresno in June of 1947, according to the Southwestern Jewish Press.

272 is the gimatriya of raev, "hungry", and possibly the number of months someone's life was extended for being charitable, according to Rabbi Moshe Bogomilsky.

Stealing an answer of Gershon Gold's, it was possible to give birth on the 272d day of pregnancy, according to Sh'muel.


The Arizal explains what we say in the Mussaf of Rosh Hashanah "איזו לרעב ואיזו לשובע" - "who will have famine and who will have plenty?", that the famine comes from the derivation of the gematria of רעב, which is 272, from the two names of G-d - א-להים י-ה-ו-ה by using the square gematria of א-להים, that is, (א + א-ל + א-לי + א-להי + א-להים) which equals 200, plus the square gematria of י-ה-ו-ה which equals 72, thus totaling 272.

(The derivation used to get the gematria of שבע will have to wait until "Who knows 372?" :-)

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