Who knows fifty-three?

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.


53 is the maximum number of consecutive days with something "extra" in the evening prayers. And it happens twice. At least on this year's calendar, outside of Israel.

In the late summer / early fall: The night going into the 30th of Av gets Yaaleh v'yavo; the 29 nights of Elul all get L'David Hashem Ori V'Yishi (Psalm 27). The 22 nights of Tishrei through Shmini Atzeres get Psalm 27 as well. And the night concluding Shmini Atzeres gets "ata hareisa" and Simchas Torah. That makes 53.

On this year's calendar, the night concluding Simchas Torah gets no "ata chonantanu", as it's a Friday night. Just the usual, unmodified, Friday-night prayers.

In the spring / early summer: The night going into the 15th of Nisan is a holiday and has ya'aleh v'yavo; the next 49 nights have Sefiras HaOmer. The next two nights are holiday, and the next night concludes with "ata chonantanu." 53.

  • How did you come up with this? – Isaac Moses Jun 24 '10 at 0:58
  • BTW, thanks for fixing my first error in this series. I guess I'm slipping. – Isaac Moses Jun 24 '10 at 0:59
  • It started with ... well let's see, 53 is 49 and a bit ... shavuos ... yeah I guess that makes 53, so that's the longest stretch of the year ... no wait what about l'dovid in Elul ... hm .... It's a lot like the Dubner Magid story: first shoot the arrow into the tree, then paint a bullseye around it. – Shalom Jun 24 '10 at 13:37

"Parashas mishpatim has in it 23 do mitzvos and 30 don't do." Head note to Sefer Hachinuch, Parashas Mishpatim


53 are the chapters in each of two consecutive books of the Rambam's Mishneh Torah: Nashim and Kedushah.


According to the Zohar (II, p. 206b) this is the number of parashyos in the Torah. The traditional division is into fifty four, but Nitzavim and Vayech are counted as one.

  • I think you mean the traditional division is 53, but people later started counting the second half of Nitzavim as its own because it's often split off. – Double AA May 15 '17 at 19:47

53 are the verses in Tzefaniah.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​


53 is the most number of Shabbatot needed to read all the weekly Torah portions based on the annual cycle.

There are 54 parshiot in total. The last parsha, Vezot Habracha is always read on Simchat Torah which never occurs on Shabbat in Disapora. (In Israel, Simchat Torah / SHemini Atzeret is same day, and Vezot could be read on Shabbat. However, in this situation, even Israel needs 53 weeks.)

For the 53 other parshiot, they would be read during a year that has 55 weeks. 2 of them are Hol Hamo'ed Pesach & Succot, so no weekly parsha is read, then. That leaves the remaining 53 weeks for the 53 parshiot.

This occurs during a leap year when the 1st day of Pesach is on Sunday and the 1st day of Rosh Hashannah was on Thursday. In such years, no parsha is doubled with another.

  • There are only 53 Parshot. (Vayelekh is just what we call the second half of Nitzavim when we split it in two because of an extra Shabbat.) Thus 52 Shabbatot is all that is needed. – Double AA Dec 19 '16 at 19:17
  • @DoubleAA I see RenatoGrun's answer from Zohar. I don't know if your or his statement is the more common analysis. – DanF Dec 19 '16 at 19:23
  • My statement and his statement agree. 53 parshot. Some communities split Netzavim in certain circumstances. Some split chukkat in certain circumstances. Some split mishpatim in certain circumstances. – Double AA Dec 19 '16 at 19:29

Fifty-three comprises the perakim of the Tanya so too the number of the days in which the Alter Rebbe was imprisoned .

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