Who knows twenty?

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.


15 Answers 15


20 are the gerahs in a shekel (Ex. 30:13).

Also, 20 silver denarii = the 5 shekalim needed for redeeming a firstborn son (Bava Metzia 44b and Rashi there).


Twenty is (the age) when one can be put to death! (by the hands of heaven as a punishment for a commandment that incurrs such a penalty.)

  • Sources! The Sages teach that although an earthly court can try a person over the age of 13, (See Bamidbar Rabbah 18:4; Midrash Tanchuma, Korach 3), the Heavenly courts only try people over the age of 20. (See Sanhedrin 89b, and Rashi on Numbers 16:27.)
    – Kfir
    May 26, 2020 at 16:11

20 is the age when one can sell inherited real estate. (Hoshen Mishpat 235:9)

  • Source please? (Is that in yesh nochalin?)
    – Shalom
    Apr 20, 2010 at 19:02
  • 1
    Mi Shemeis, actually (Bava Basra 156a).
    – Alex
    Apr 20, 2010 at 19:28
  • What about Ben sorer umoreh? Dec 4, 2016 at 16:44

Twenty is the age of the Draft. (Numbers 1:3)


20 represents כתר, the highest of the Sefiros, since (a) the initial letter of כתר is כ, which equals 20, and (b) the numerical value of the word עשרים is 620, which equals that of כתר. (Likkutei Torah, Shir Hashirim 35c)


Twenty (point one) minutes are a "hiluch mil" (a Halachic time unit) according to Rabbi Ari Storch's reading of Tosfos.

(The common opinions are 18, 22.5 or 24 minutes instead.)


20 are the 10 commandments (two sets of luchot, and also twice listed in the Torah)


20 are the years which Hashem waits for someone to get married before deciding that his bones should rot (Kiddushin 29b).


Tosafot Yom Tov on Pirkei Avot 5:21

AT TWENTY, CHASING. The Rav’s second explanation is that the heavenly court only begins to punish a person at 20. This is taken from Bemidbar Rabbah 18:4. It seems this was based on the fact that only those who were twenty years old at the incident of the spies died in the desert (Numbers 14:29).

  • See also Yahu's answer below.
    – Shalom
    Mar 7, 2019 at 7:32

One should not be a chazan for mussaf before twenty. torah tmimah and others since davenning resembles korbonus and people under twenty were not included and didnt have to pay the machzis hashekel for them.

  • What is your source?
    – Kfir
    May 26, 2020 at 16:43

The maximum height of a Chanukah menorah is 20 amot.

  • also schach and an eruv crossbeam
    – Double AA
    Dec 20, 2016 at 16:39
  • @DoubleAA Thanks. Nothing stops you from making that an answer :-)
    – DanF
    Dec 20, 2016 at 17:52

The maximum height of a sukkah (at least according to chachamim) (mishnayos sukkos perek א Mishnah א)


20- As compiled and listed by this Hebrew Wikipedia entry, 20 is the number of instances in Shas where the principle of "chiddush"is invoked.

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(the above image is from "The Talmud: The Steinsaltz Edition, A Reference Guide")

1) חיוב קרבן בשבועת ביטוי - an “oath of expression” about a future or past event-- ie NOT an oath of testimony (see Shevuot 26b with Tosfos)

2) בשר בחלב - meat and milk (see Pesachim 44b)

3) גיעולי עובדי כוכבים - purging the vessels of non-Jews with boiling water (see Pesachim 44b)

4) קנס - paying a penalty (see Ketubot 38b)

5) נזיר - accepting a partial nazirite vow upon oneself (see Nazir 3b-4a)

6) שפחה כנענית לעבד עברי - Canaanite maidservant to a Jewish slave (see Kiddushin 21b with Rashi)

7) אשת יפת תואר - a beautiful woman who was taken captive in war (inferred from Kiddushin 21b)

8) עדים זוממים - conspiring witnesses (see Sanhedrin 27a)

9) ריבית - charging interest (see Bava Metzia 61a)

10) טומאת שרץ - if a sheretz (creepy crawly creature) imparts "flavor" to a mixture it is still prohibited (see Avodah Zarah 68b)

11) טומאת שכבת זרע - impurity of an emission that's imparted into a mixture is still prohibited (Avodah Zarah 68b)

12) זרוע של איל נזיר - the foreleg of the ram offering that a nazirite must bring (see Chullin 98b)

13) חלב בהמה טהורה - permissibility of consuming milk from a kosher animal (see Bechoros 6a-b)

14) צרעת הבתים - leprosy on houses (see Moed Kattan 7b-8a)

15) יבמה - the widow of a childless man who has brothers (see Yevamos 17b)

16) נבלת עוף טהור - the carcass of a pure bird (see Zevachim 70a)

17) מנחת העומר - the Omer offering (inferred from Menachos 5a-b)

18) טומאת בעלי קרי בהר סיני - the impurity of a person who had an emission by Har Sinai (see Niddah 42a)

19) מזיד בשבועת ביטוי - purposely taking a shevuas bitui (see Shevuot 37a)

20) מוציא שם רע - a man who claims his wife committed adultery (see Ketubot 45a)

(for an explanation of the what the "chiddush" is for each entry on this list , please refer to this answer)


זֶה֩ עֶשְׂרִ֨ים שָׁנָ֤ה אָנֹכִי֙ עִמָּ֔ךְ רְחֵלֶ֥יךָ וְעִזֶּ֖יךָ לֹ֣א שִׁכֵּ֑לוּ וְאֵילֵ֥י צֹאנְךָ֖ לֹ֥א אָכָֽלְתִּי׃ “These twenty years I have spent in your service, your ewes and she-goats never miscarried, nor did I feast on rams from your flock." - Bereshis 31:38-40

Yaakov spent 20 years in Laban's house and did not sleep. (Bereshis Rabbah 68:11)


Mekubalim says a person gets his neshama if he does torah and mitzvot at the age of 20

Makhatzit Hasekel is donated by all men above 20

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