Who knows one hundred fifty-eight?

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.

2 Answers 2


Maharal writes (Gur Aryeh to Gen. 26:34) that the average human lifespan in Yitzchak's times was 158 years. (He arrives at this figure by averaging Yishmael's age of 137 years and Yitzchak's of 180.)

Thus, he continues, Yitzchak married at age 40, when he had reached one-quarter of his life expectancy; similarly, the Mishnah says that "eighteen is the age of marriage" since the average person lives to seventy, and 18 is about a quarter of that.


According to Harry Gersh, who I have no reason to think is correct, there are 158 tanaim mentioned in the Mishna.

(The user "Alex" has mentioned in a comment that this number is different from that given by the Rambam in his introduction to the mishna.)

  • I wonder if that was a mistake for 128, which is the number given by the Rambam in his introduction to the Mishnah: 91 "in whose names the halachos are said," and 37 "mentioned because of something that happened in their time, or because of an ethical teaching of theirs."
    – Alex
    Commented Jan 3, 2011 at 18:54
  • Ah, most likely, then. Printing to paper (at least by default) doesn't print comments, so I'll include the info you've mentioned into my answer.
    – msh210
    Commented Jan 3, 2011 at 21:03
  • Who's printing up m.y Q&A on paper? To the substance, one could imagine the Rambam's count differing from what we might find in our own count due to different versions or even error, but not by 25%, so I'm inclined to agree with the two of you that Harry Gersh's number is probably a mistake.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Jan 3, 2011 at 21:34
  • 1
    Re "Who's printing up m.y Q&A on paper?", I am. Specifically, someone referred to sources, and I printed out the question and answer to look them up.
    – msh210
    Commented Jan 4, 2011 at 3:53
  • In the new site, comments do print.
    – msh210
    Commented May 19, 2011 at 20:40

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