Who knows twenty-eight?

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.


14 Answers 14


28 years in the מחזור גדול, the long solar cycle, which is used for saying ברכת החמה


28 are the "times" listed in Koheles (Ecclesiastes) 3:2-8: "there is a time to be born and a time to die," etc.

  • 1
    And hence the words in the core of Kaddish.
    – Shalom
    Commented Apr 30, 2010 at 17:53
  • True, and now that you mention it, I think I've also seen someone who relates it to the 28-year cycle that Jeremy mentioned.
    – Alex
    Commented Apr 30, 2010 at 18:08
  • 1
    @Shalom: Could you expalin the Kohelet/Kaddish connection?
    – Chanoch
    Commented May 3, 2010 at 20:55

A couple of Beis Hamikdash-related ones:*

  • 28 amos (and four tefachim) was the length and width of the top of the Altar, in the second Beis Hamikdash (Rambam, Hil. Beis Habechirah 2:7), and it will be the same in the third Beis Hamikdash (may it be built soon!)

  • 28 amos was also the length and width of the base of the Altar, in the first Beis Hamikdash. (Middos 3:1, R' Yose)

  • 28 golden half-tubes (menakiyos) were used to hold up the 12 loaves of Lechem Hapanim ("showbread," or as they translate it in the Gutnick Chumash, "multi-surface bread") and allow air to circulate between them. (Rambam, ibid. 3:14)

  • 28-ply threads (six plies each of blue wool, purple wool, crimson wool, and linen, and four plies of gold) were used to weave the Kohen Gadol's efod (apron) and choshen (breastplate). (Rambam, Hil. Klei Hamikdash 9:5)

* Knowing how fond Isaac is of those. :)

  • You realize, of course, that while engaging my interest makes your answer more likely to win, saying that you're doing so makes it less likely. (Not that you're hurting for rep points, in any case.)
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Apr 30, 2010 at 18:42
  • Kicking myself for not thinking of the ply-threads; that one's in Rashi on Chumash. Alex, are you using Bar-Ilan for these? That's how I'd do it if I took this more seriously ...
    – Shalom
    Commented Apr 30, 2010 at 18:50
  • I use Tanach Plus, actually. But I try to stick to things that I already knew of (and just need to refresh my memory); it wouldn't really be fair to use it to get rep points for things that I never learned before.
    – Alex
    Commented Apr 30, 2010 at 21:30
  • Isaac - so this really is like the business world, huh? You have to express interest without showing that you're expressing interest. :)
    – Alex
    Commented Apr 30, 2010 at 21:32
  • It's perfectly fair to get rep points for sharing knowledge with the community and the world, whether it's new to you or not.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented May 2, 2010 at 2:22

The letters in יהא שמה רבא מברך לעלם ולעלמי עלמיא. It's also the number of words from יהא שמה until דאמירן בעלמא. Both are gematria of כח (strength), so the Ashkenazi minhag is that the communal response is 28 letters long, and the Sephardi minhag is that the communal response is 28 words long. The 28 word restriction is why לעלא מן כל becomes לעלא לעלא מכל in the Ashkenazi minhag during the 10 days of teshuva.

  • Checkmark for related 28-ness over two different minhagim, gematria, and (via comment) Tanach.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented May 3, 2010 at 15:52
  • Refer to Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 129:1 - sefaria.org/…
    – Dov
    Commented Aug 21, 2022 at 13:36
  • There are also Sephardi siddurim that omit the vav in "ולעלמי עלמיא", but the sentence (until עלמיא) is still twenty-eight letters long. How do they do it? They add a yod in שמיה. So the phrase becomes יהא שמיה רבא מברך לעלם לעלמי עלמיא. (The communal response is still 28 words long, though.)
    – Chanoch
    Commented Aug 22, 2022 at 14:04

28 Iyyar is the day we got the Temple Mount back.


28 is the length of each tapestry sewn together to cover the Mishkan, in Amot (cubits). This was enough to cover the top of the Mishkan and drape down over most of the two sides.

Rabbi Kaplan says something about this being the maximum size for a weavable tapestry. I think he means that they could make two 28 x 4s and sew them together, but not make a 28 x 8. Probably because 4 cubits is the average person's height (and therefore armspan), so it would be hard with a traditional loom to work with something wider.


28 is the total perakim in the fingers of two hands.


28 are the mishnayos in Uktzin


Pirkei DeRabbi Eliezer 1:1 - the story about Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrkanos and his desire to learn Torah.

28 Years is the age in which Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrkanos was instructed by his father to get married.

ולמה את בוכה? אמר לו, שאני מבקש ללמד תורה. אמר לו והלא בן עשרים ושמונה שנים אתה, ואתה מבקש ללמד תורה. אלא קח לך אשה ותוליד לך בנים ואתה מוליכן לבית הספר.



28 Nissan is the historic day that the Lubavitcher Rebbe told us that he has done everything he can, and now he's giving the mission over to us, to do everything we can to bring Moshiach, and that we get the "power" (gematria 28) to do so from the month of Nissan, the month of the redemption. (Said in the year 5751).

That same year on the 28th of Sivan the Rebbe publicized openly for the first time that the third beis hamikdash will descend from the heavens to 770 Eastern Parkway first, before flying to Yerushalayim with all of the synagogues etc.


Melachim Beis 10:36:

וְהַיָּמִ֗ים אֲשֶׁ֨ר מָלַ֤ךְ יֵהוּא֙ עַל־יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל עֶשְׂרִֽים־וּשְׁמֹנֶ֥ה שָׁנָ֖ה בְּשֹׁמְרֽוֹן

Jehu reigned over Israel for twenty-eight years in Samaria.


On the topic of reneging on a transaction - refer to Bava Metzia 49b

אלא דזבין שוי עשרים וארבעה בעשרין ותמניא תנן הורה רבי טרפון בלוד האונאה שמונה כסף מעשרים וארבעה כסף לסלע שליש למקח מאי לאו דזבין שוי שיתסרי בעשרים וארבעה וש"מ שליש מעות נמי שנינו

Rather, it is a case where he sold an item worth twenty-four ma’a for twenty-eight ma’a. We learned in the mishna that Rabbi Tarfon ruled in Lod: Exploitation is a measure of eight silver ma’a from the twenty-four silver ma’a of a sela, one-third of the transaction. What, is it not a case where he bought an item worth sixteen ma’a for twenty-four ma’a? And accordingly, one can conclude from the mishna that we learned that exploitation is also determined by one-third of the money paid, in accordance with the opinion of Shmuel. (Sefaria translation & notation)


Ezra 8:11 when listing the genealogy of the families that went up to Bavel in the reign of King Artachshasta:

וּמִבְּנֵ֣י בֵבַ֔י זְכַרְיָ֖ה בֶּן־בֵּבָ֑י וְעִמּ֕וֹ עֶשְׂרִ֥ים וּשְׁמֹנָ֖ה הַזְּכָרִֽים׃ {ס}  

And of the sons of Bebai, Zechariah the son of Bebai; and with him twenty and eight males.


28 is the letter-count of the first pasuk in the Torah (Bereishis 1:1, see Kav HaYashar 80):

בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים אֵ֥ת הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וְאֵ֥ת הָאָֽרֶץ

28 is also the numerical value of the word for power, used in Tehillim 111:6 (koach).

corresponding to the twenty-eight letters in the first verse of the Torah, “In the beginning G-d created the Heaven and the earth” (Bereishis 1:1). This is an allusion to what is stated in Tehillim, “The power of His deeds He has declared to His people” (111:6). For the numerical value of the word “power” — koach — is twenty-eight.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .