Who knows one hundred twenty?

Please cite/link your sources, if possible. At some point at least twenty-four hours from now, I will:

  • Upvote all interesting answers.

  • Accept the best answer.

  • Go on to the next number.


120 were the years of the following great leaders: (End of Sifrei)

Moshe rabbeinu (already mentioned by Gershon): 40 years by Paroah, 40 by Midyan, 40 as the leader of BN"Y

Hillel haZaken: At 40 y/o he ascended from Bavel, 40 years he served under Chachamim, 40 as leader of Israel

Rabbi Yochanan be Zakai: 40 years in business, 40 serving under chachamim, 40 as leader of Israel

Rabbi Akiva: At 40 he learned torah for 40 years, 40 years leading Israel


There are 120 sections in R' Shneur Zalman of Liadi's Tanya:

  • Part 1 (Sefer Shel Beinonim) - a preface and 53 chapters
  • Part 2 (Shaar Hayichud Veha'emunah) - a preface and 12 chapters
  • Part 3 (Iggeres Hateshuvah) - 12 chapters
  • Part 4 (Iggeres Hakodesh) - 32 epistles
  • Part 5 (Kuntres Acharon) - 9 essays

Moshe spent 120 days on Har Sinai.

40 for the first luchos

40 days praying for the b'nei Yisrael

40 days for the second luchos


Shimon the son of Yaakov Avinu lived 120 years.

Moshe Rabeinu lived 120 years.

Noach built a Teiva for 120 years.

The Knesset has 120 MKs.

  • This is also a separate answer, but I'll just tack it on here: The reason the k'neses has 120 people is that it was styled after the k'neses hag'dola, which had 120 people. – msh210 Nov 7 '10 at 3:22
  • Don't just tack; answer! – Isaac Moses Nov 7 '10 at 3:57

Yaakov and Eisav were 120 years old when Yitzchak was Niftar


A city must have 120 men to have a sanhedrin (Rambam Hil. Sanhedrin 1:10):

23 for the sanhedrin

69 backup judges (3 rows of 23)

10 "batlanim" for the beis hakenesses

2 scribes

2 court officials (chazanim)

2 baalei din

2 witnesses

2 cancelling witnesses "zom'min"

2 cancelling witnesses of the cancelling witnesses "zom'mei zom'min"

2 tzedaka collectors

1 additional person to accompany the tzedaka collectors

1 expert doctor (to be an expert witness)

1 secretary

1 school rebbi


Kaddish D'Rabanan in Nusach Ashkanaz has 120 words (includes V'Arah, Tovim, B'Rachamov)

The Beis Hamikdash was 60 cubits long = 120 feet (Melachim1 6:1)

Chiram sent Shlomo HaMelech 120 talents of gold (Melachim1 9:14)

The Queen of Sheba gave Shlomo HaMelech 120 talents of gold (Melachim1 10:10)

  • Gershon, this does not negate the total of 120 in kadish dirabanan of nusach ashkenaz, but btw, according to Siddur Aliyos Eliyahu (Rabbi Lopiansky) the only nusach ashkenaz version that includes the word "v'arah" that he could find in the old siddurim is "kadam marah di'vishmaya v'arah.." – Yahu Nov 8 '10 at 21:42
  • That is the V'arah I am talking about. Is there another V'arah? – Gershon Gold Nov 8 '10 at 22:13

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