I heard a lecture that the 6,000yr before the Messianic period begins is an approximation for the exact number of 6,013yr (or possibly 6,023yr as my memory may not be serving me right). I searched and tried to find a source for this awkward exact number but could not find it. I was wondering if anyone can provide the source and an additional source that explains the significance of the 13 or 23yr remainder. If someone can also show that the 6013/6023 is not an authentic opinion, that would be great too.

This is not a question on alternatives to the 6,000yr opinion (of which there are many). I believe this question is a clarification on the 6,000yr opinion.


1 Answer 1


At 1st glance, it sounds like someone may have tried to make an analogy between the letters of the Torah and the 6000 years that this world will exist including the days of the Messiah.

A Torah actually contains 304,805 letters. But like is emphasized in kabbalistic and chassidic teachings, letters are defined in 2 ways.

Written letters are defined by positive space/boundary. Engraved letters are defined by negative space/boundary.

If one considers the analogy in the physical universe of matter (what we see and detect) and dark matter (the aspect of matter which we generally don't see or detect and which comprises according to current theories the majority of the universe), the idea isn't so difficult to comprehend. Dark matter would equate with the space around each letter in a Sefer Torah. For the Sefer Torah to be valid, each letter must have that clear space around it. When considering the entire klaf of the Sefer Torah (the surface of skin written upon which is also empty space) the dark matter is far greater than the matter (the ink).

So absolute letter definition has both definition aspects resulting in the concept that the Torah contains (approximately) 600,000 letters. Doubling 304,805 results in exactly 609,610 letters.

Dividing by 100 to draw the analogy to exact years results in 6,096 years that this world will last.

This would then alter the calculations of how long a day in terms of G-d's years from Chapter 90:4 of Tehillim results in.

For in Your sight a thousand years are like yesterday that has passed, like a watch of the night.

The Messianic period begins before the end of the 6th day (actual Shabbat) following the halachic concept of when Shabbat should be brought in on Friday.

Doing the math, 6096 years divided by 6 days means a single day is 1,016 years exactly. Dividing by 24 hours in a day results in 42.333 years per halachic hour.

The earliest to take on Shabbat is Plag HaMinchah or 1.25 hours before actual night. 42.333 years times 1.25 results in 52.9 (53 years) before the 6,096 actual years that this world will exist, or the year 6,043 (which coincides to Plag HaMinchah of the sixth day) is the commencement of the Messianic period using that analogy with the actual number of letters of the Torah.

But just to emphasize, this is not the way this concept has been taught, neither by the Vilna Gaon, nor within the teachings of Chassidut.

The traditional teaching places Plag HaMinchah, meaning the beginning of the Messianic era, at the year 5750/51 or 1990/1991 on the secular calendar.

  • Some hold you can take on Shabbat 2 hours back into Friday so 6096-(42.333*2)=6011.33 which is closer to the OP's number.
    – Double AA
    Jun 17, 2021 at 17:45
  • @DoubleAA Valid point. You are considering the difference between Rabbeinu Tam and the Gaonim? Jun 17, 2021 at 17:49
  • No, just generally skeptical of plag mincha being a meaningful time for anything besides the rabbinic border of afternoon prayers, a few inconclusive passing references in late rishonim notwithstanding.
    – Double AA
    Jun 17, 2021 at 17:51
  • @YaacovDeane Is the traditional teaching Chabad? It would be very convenient for them.
    – N.T.
    Jun 17, 2021 at 19:14
  • @N.T. This idea doesn't originate with Chabad. It's found in many places throughout the Torah (meaning including all of the Oral Torah). So in that sense, yes, of course it is the traditional teaching of Chabad. Lubavitchers accept the entire Torah, both written and oral. Jun 17, 2021 at 19:21

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