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Who knows thirty-nine?

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.

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9 Answers 9

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The 39 Avos Melachos (Primary types of Forbidden labor) on Shabbos (Shabbos 7:2 , Mishneh Torah (Shabbos) 7:1)

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  • I should get 39 upvotes for every one of yours:)
    – Jeremy
    May 17, 2010 at 21:01
  • Helvai that we should have so many users!
    – Isaac Moses
    May 18, 2010 at 15:10
  • 1
    Checkmark for not being afraid to go with the most familiar and bring sources.
    – Isaac Moses
    May 18, 2010 at 15:12
  • @IsaacMoses now there are many more than that
    – Ze'ev
    Mar 14, 2017 at 3:36
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The maximum number of lashes one may receive (I'll try to add sources)

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  • 1
    Except according to Rabi Yehudah who holds 40! Makkos, 6b
    – Yahu
    May 17, 2010 at 18:44
  • 2
    Do you mean 40 factorial?!
    – Isaac Moses
    May 17, 2010 at 20:55
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    Sorry. I meant "Except according to Rabi Yehudah who holds 40! Makkos, 22a" and not factorial!
    – Yahu
    May 24, 2010 at 20:39
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39 was the righteous King Yoshiyahu's age when he was killed in battle. He was crowned king at age 8, and ruled 31 years. (II Kings 22:1)

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39 was Shmuel's age when he succeeded to the leadership of the Jewish People, after the death of Eli Hakohen. (Rashi to I Sam. 1:22)

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According to a common custom, a thread is wound around the others thirty-nine times on each tassel of tzitzis: seven times in the first wound segment, then eight, then eleven, and finally thirteen.

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39 Toledot melacha for each Av melacha on Shabbat.

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  • Not sure I understand. You mean each Av has its own 39 toledot (holy toledot!)? Is there a source for that? Or each Av has only 1? The example I recall is "planting" has: watering, fertilizing, and grafting. That's neither 1 nor 39.
    – Shalom
    May 17, 2010 at 15:51
  • Woops, I forgot pruning. But even so. 1 < Toledot < 39.
    – Shalom
    May 17, 2010 at 16:06
  • Yes, 39 for each of the 39, making 1521 toledot, plus 39 avot, for a total of 1560. I think it is a Tosefos in perek Klal Gadol in masechet Shabbos, but can't find it right now, and Google only pointed me to a messianic Judiasm site in the UK.
    – Jeremy
    May 17, 2010 at 16:52
  • Yerushalmi Shabbat Ch. 7, halakhah 1 (9b)
    – Kfir
    Feb 12, 2021 at 6:56
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After Adam ate from the forbidden fruit, Hashem gave 39 curses:

10 to the serpent
10 to Adam
10 to Eve
9 to the earth

(Tikkunei Zohar 64-5)

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39 was the age at which the Ramchal died (1707-1746).

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The categories of work used to build (and use?) the Mishkan (Shabbat 49b)

Also the number of times the Torah uses the words מלאכה, מלאכתו, מלאכת (also Shabbat 49b)

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