THis is a follow-up question to 248-organs.

The Mishnah in Ohalot (1:8) states that there are 248 organs and lists all of them:

"מָאתַיִם וְאַרְבָּעִים וּשְׁמֹנָה אֵבָרִים בָּאָדָם, שְׁלשִׁים בְּפִסַּת הָרֶגֶל, ..., אַחַת עֶשְׂרֵה צְלָעוֹת, שְׁלשִׁים בְּפִסַּת הַיָּד, ... וּשְׁמֹנֶה עֶשְׂרֵה חֻלְיוֹת בַּשִּׁדְרָה, תִּשְׁעָה בָרֹאשׁ, וכו' :

There are two hundred and forty-eight limbs in the body: Thirty in the foot,..., eleven ribs, thirty in the palm... And eighteen vertebrates in the spinal chord: nine in the head, eight in the neck, etc.

The Mishnah counts 11 pairs of ribs, whereas it is anatomically 12.

Tifferes Israel tries to explain it by the fact they didn't count the first pair but it does not sound so convincing - why not count the first pair?

That brings us back to the question: did the Sages count the bones (organs) empirically or theoretically, based on verses or the tradition? Either way, how did they get to only 11 pairs of ribs?

  • 2
    If you want answers, I recommend you make it easier for people to find such. Specifically, noting where the mishna is will likely help a lot. – msh210 Aug 26 '18 at 22:31
  • @msh210 THat's a follow up. All the details are in the original question which is quite long I didn't want to bring it all again. – Al Berko Aug 26 '18 at 23:01
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    @AlBerko as mentioned elsewhere, your questions should be self standing. Don't assume people have read your other writing. Don't leave essential information out of the question. – mbloch Aug 27 '18 at 3:53
  • Maybe a clue from mentalfloss.com/article/502701/9-interesting-facts-about-ribs: YOU HAVE THREE TYPES OF RIBS. The human skeleton has 12 pairs of ribs. Working from the top of the torso down, ribs 1 to 7 are considered "true ribs," as they connect directly from the spine to the sternum, Martinez says. Ribs 8 to 10 are called "false ribs" because they don't connect directly, but have cartilage that attaches them to the sternum. Ribs 11 and 12 are called "floating ribs" because they only connect to the spine in back. These, he says, "are much shorter." – Danny Schoemann Aug 28 '18 at 9:56
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    There are 22 = 2 x 11 letters in the Hebrew alphabet. – Lucian Aug 26 '19 at 14:14

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