2

Related is this question, but I think it's waaaay too narrow in focus.

In fact, I went through the entire Torah, picking out any place where a year contained more than one nonzero digit and sorted them by two digits versus three digits and by whether Shanah is repeated (ha) or not. Here are my results.

Three Digits

Repeats
Asterisks are the ones addressed by Rashi and the aforementioned question

Adam (Bereishis (5:5)
Sheis (Bereishis 5:6-8)
Enosh (Bereishis 5:10-11)
Keinan (Bereishis 5:13-14)
Mehallalel (Bereishis 5:15-17)
Yered (Bereishis 5:18,20)
Chanoch (Bereishis 5:23)
Mesushelach (Bereishis 5:25-27)
Lemech (Bereishis 5:28)
Noach (Bereishis 9:28-29)
Arpachshad (Bereishis 11:13)
Shelach (Bereishis 11:15)
Eiver (Bereishis 11:17)
Peleg (Bereishis 11:19)
Re'u (Bereishis 11:21)
Nachor (Bereishis 11:25)
Terach (Bereishis 11:32)
*Sarah (Bereishis 23:1)
*Avraham (Bereishis 25:7)
*Yishmael (Bereishis 25:17)
Yitzchak (Bereishis 35:28)

Repeats for 2/3 digits

Lamech (Bereishis 5:30-31)
Yaakov (Bereishis 47:28)

Doesn't repeat

Adam (Bereishis 5:3)
Yaakov (Bereishis 47:9)
Yosef (Bereishis 50:22,26)
Levi (Shemos 6:16)
Kehas (Shemos 6:18)
Amram (Shemos 6:20)
Years spent in Mitzraim (why limit it to people? - Shemos 12:40-41)
Aharon (Bamidbar 33:39)
Moshe (Devarim 34:7)

Two digits

Repeats

Avraham (Bereishis 12:4, 16:16)
Yaakov (Bereishis 47:28)

Doesn't repeat

Arpachshad (Bereishis 11:12)
Eiver (Bereishis 11:16)
Re'u (Bereishis 11:20)
Avraham (Bereishis 17:24)
Aharon (Shemos 7:7)
Yovel (Still not limiting it to people - Vayikra 25:8)
Age of Leviim (Bamidbar 8:24)

So... In conclusion, if the number is three digits, it tends to repeat Shanah after all of them, while it's the opposite if it's two digits. There are exceptions to both. Notice how certain people, like Avraham (who Rashi asked about) appear in both categories. Notice also that although Yaakov appears in both categories, everyone who lived after him - and our non-people which also appear after Yaakov's death - appear only in the "doesn't repeat" category, regardless of the number of digits.

Why this is the case is for another question. My question is: why does Rashi make such a big deal about Sarah and Avraham, and the Maskil L'Dovid on Yishmael, when that seems to be perfectly normal in the Torah?

  • Do you account for "7 years and 10 years and 300 years" different from "17 years and 300 years"? I'm not sure I follow your categories. – Double AA Nov 7 '16 at 20:49
  • @DoubleAA Typically teens are written as a single number so I counted both of those in the same category. "300 years and 21 years", though, would be a 2/3 repeat. – DonielF Nov 7 '16 at 22:43
  • I'm still not 100% sure I follow, but can you just confirm that the claim in the answer below is correct? (those are the only ones with the word "shanah" written thrice) – Double AA Nov 7 '16 at 23:06
  • 1
    @DoubleAA Yes, that seems to be the case. – DonielF Nov 7 '16 at 23:33
1

The Levush Ha'orah explains that what makes these cases unique is that 'shanah' is written all three times: once after the hundreds, once after the tens, and once after the units.

(Your examples of repetition only have 'shana' two times.)

  • What about the two digit examples? Is there no issue with a couple of those pesukim not following the pattern? Also, what about Avraham and Yaakov who appear in both categories? – DonielF Nov 7 '16 at 22:45
  • Also, why, then, are there no derashos on the ones that are able to have three "shanah"'s but don't, like Yaakov when he died? – DonielF Nov 7 '16 at 23:34
  • @DonielF "What about the two digit examples? Is there no issue with a couple of those pesukim not following the pattern? " - good point, maybe post it as a new question. "Also, what about Avraham and Yaakov who appear in both categories?" - what do you mean by 'both categories' and what exactly is your question? "Also, why, then, are there no derashos on the ones that are able to have three "shanah"'s but don't, like Yaakov when he died?" – I don't believe that derashos are ever made from the absence of an extra word. – Jay Nov 8 '16 at 17:09
  • "Good point, maybe post it as a new question." - I should post part of my question as a new question because the answers don't satisfy it? "What do you mean by both categories" - Avraham appears in both two-digit categories. Yaakov at two digits is repeated while Yaakov at three digits isn't. Is there a reason for such instances? (Please don't tell me to get lost again. This was also part of my question - why are these instances cared about but other real anomalies aren't.) con't. – DonielF Nov 8 '16 at 19:23
  • "I don't believe derashos are made from the absence of an extra word" - Aderabah, by pointing out Yishmael fits the category Avraham and Sarah are a part of we've shown that the rule seems to be to add shanah at all three when possible. But we don't do it by Yaakov - why? – DonielF Nov 8 '16 at 19:25

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