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. Here's an example in the Tur. Here's another and another and another.

When and where did this custom originate? Did the original Tur have this configuration, or was it modified by later printers? Can it be found in earlier books?

Furthermore, does it really serve a purpose? How would it matter if a siman reads רעה?

  • Just wondering what exactly Ayin Hara has to do with anything? Feb 9, 2012 at 2:59
  • @HachamGabriel its just my guess at where the answer will be headed. Feb 9, 2012 at 3:25
  • 1
    @Vram According to Hebrewbooks, yours were published in 1861 and mine in 1631.
    – Double AA
    Feb 9, 2012 at 5:03
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    Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/a/10294.
    – msh210
    Feb 9, 2012 at 5:54
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    Don't they also skip over "good" numbers? Like various forms of G-d's name
    – user1095
    Feb 12, 2012 at 12:35

2 Answers 2


I think this falls under categories such as lashon naki which do not have clear parameters (Halachot of Lashon Naki (clean speech))


Because we avoid writing words which have a negative connotation as an attempt to disassociate Torah with negativity.

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    The question already said that. What are you adding?
    – Double AA
    Mar 11, 2012 at 21:19

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