Who knows forty-two?

Please cite/link your sources, if possible. At some point in the next few days, I will:

  • Upvote all interesting answers.

  • Accept the best answer.

  • Go on to the next number.

  • 1
    Not an actual answer, but- 42 is the gematria of גוגל, or in English, Google. – PixelArtDragon May 29 '14 at 14:48

12 Answers 12


42 travels (of B'nei Yisrael) in the Torah.

מ״ב מסעות בתורה רעמםם סוכות איתם כו׳ במדבר ל״ג

מם׳ סופרים פ״ב ה״ו

  • Checkmark for strong 42-ness, as far as I can tell. – Isaac Moses May 26 '10 at 4:02

42 details in the Menorah. (22 "cups", 11 "globes", 9 flowers)

מ״ב דברים במנורה כ״ב גביעים י״א כפתורים ט׳ פרחים

(עי׳ במע״ר במעשה המשכן)


42 are the minimum (and today, pretty much the standard) customary number of lines per column in a Torah scroll. (Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh De'ah 275:6 in Hagah)

  • Some opinions say 48 is the minimum. Common sense would dictate to use at least 48 to satisfy both opinions (and it's cheaper since you use less Klaf). – Double AA Jul 31 '17 at 16:36
  • Interestingly, the first printed Bible used 42 lines too en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… – Double AA Dec 11 '17 at 16:18

42 are the years during which the royal houses of the Judean and Israelite (Ten Tribes) kingdoms were related by marriage.

This was displeasing to Hashem, since the former were righteous and the latter were not (and indeed, some of the Judean kings became corrupt under their in-laws' influence). The result was that almost all of David's descendants were wiped out, with only one infant (Yehoram) being spared. (Seder Olam Rabbah ch. 17, explaining II Chron. 22:2 - cited in the commentaries ad loc.)


42 occurences of the name of Hashem in both tefillin.

מ״ב אזכרות בתפלין של יד ושל ראש כ״א בד׳ פרשיות

(הקדמת ת״ז)



The number of words in אנא בכח.

  • ... whose first letters make up the holy 42 letter name of Hashem. – Yahu May 26 '10 at 19:46

42 are the korbonos that Balak brought.

7 bulls and 7 rams in each of three different locations, as recorded in:


42 cities of refuge which did not give refuge to the unintentional killer without his awareness (Makkos 10a).


Rus Rabah 2:8 says that the fellow that was watching the reapers in Boaz's field, was watching 42 reapers.


The number of words in birkas hatzadikim in Sh'monah Esre (according to the סידורים of the word-counting genre)


42 is the source.

(V'dibarta Bam= 42)


The Or HaChaim HaKadosh brings 42 elucidatioms on the beginning verse of Bechukosai.

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