Significance of numbers in Judaism
Numbers play an important role in Judaic ritual practices and are believed to be a means for understanding the divine. A Mishnaic textual source, Pirkei Avot 3:23, makes clear that the use of gematria is dated to at least the Tannaic period. This marriage between the symbolic and the physical found its pinnacle in the creation of the Tabernacle. The Hebrew word for symbol is ot, which, in early Judaism, denoted not only a sign, but also a visible religious token of the relation between God and man. It is largely held by Jewish leadership that the numerical dimensions of the temple are a "microcosm of creation ... that God used to create the Olamot-Universes."
- Eleven are the stars of the Joseph's dream - אחד עשר כוכביא
- Twelve are the tribes of Israel - שנים עשר שיבטיא
- Twelve is the age at which a Jewish female becomes obligated to follow Jewish law.
- There were twelve loaves of show-bread on the shulchan (table) in the Beit Hamikdash
- Sons of Jacob
- Stones of the Hoshen
- Age at which Bat Mitzvah is attained (Orthodox tradition)
- Number of springs of water at the Israelites' encampment following the incident at Marah
- Thirteen are the attributes of Hashem - שלושה עשר מידיא
- 13 is the age at which a Jewish male becomes obligated to follow Jewish law, the age at which a Bar Mitzvah is attained
- Thirteen Attributes of Mercy
- Jewish principles of faith according to Maimonides
- Number of days of Yom Tov in a year (Diaspora)
- Months in a leap year on the Hebrew calendar
- Date in Adar (or Adar II in leap years) of the Fast of Esther
- One of two numbers that is written differently from the conventions of writing numbers in Hebrew in order to avoid writing the name of God. The other is 15.
- Total number of books in the Tanakh
- twenty-four kohanic gifts
- 24,000 people that died in the plague that Pinchas stops (Numbers 25:9)
- 24,000 students of R Akiva that died
- 24 questions that Reish Lakish would ask Rebbi Yochanan (Talmud Bavli, Tractate Bava Metzia, Folio 84a)
- 24 benedictions recited in the Amidah on fast days
- Value associated with "Koach" meaning strength, commonly used in the saying "Yasher Koach"
- The Tzadikim Nistarim (Hebrew: צַדִיקִים נִסתָּרים, hidden righteous ones) or Lamed Vav Tzadikim (Hebrew: ל"ו צַדִיקִים, 36 righteous ones), often abbreviated to Lamed Vav(niks)[a], refers to 36 Righteous people, a notion rooted within the more mystical dimensions of Judaism. The singular form is Tzadik Nistar (Hebrew: צַדִיק נִסתָר). The source is the Talmud itself, explained as follows:
As a mystical concept, the number 36 is even more intriguing. It is said that at all times there are 36 special people in the world, and that were it not for them, all of them, if even one of them was missing, the world would come to an end. The two Hebrew letters for 36 are the lamed, which is 30, and the vav, which is 6. Therefore, these 36 are referred to as the Lamed-Vav Tzadikim. This widely held belief, this most unusual Jewish concept is based on a Talmudic statement to the effect that in every generation 36 righteous "greet the Shechinah," the Divine Presence (Tractate Sanhedrin 97b; Tractate Sukkah 45b).
The Lamed-Vav Tzaddikim are also called the Nistarim ("concealed ones"). In our folk tales, they emerge from their self-imposed concealment and, by the mystic powers which they possess, they succeed in averting the threatened disasters of a people persecuted by the enemies that surround them. They return to their anonymity as soon as their task is accomplished, 'concealing' themselves once again in a Jewish community wherein they are relatively unknown. The lamed-vavniks, scattered as they are throughout the Diaspora, have no acquaintance with one another. On very rare occasions, one of them is 'discovered' by accident, in which case the secret of their identity must not be disclosed. The lamed-vavniks do not themselves know that they are one of the 36. In fact, tradition has it that should a person claim to be one of the 36, that is proof positive that they are certainly not one. Since the 36 are each exemplars of anavah, ("humility"), having such a virtue would preclude against one’s self-proclamation of being among the special righteous. The 36 are simply too humble to believe that they are one of the 36.
- The term lamedvavnik is derived from the Hebrew letters Lamed (L) and Vav (V), whose numerical value adds up to 36. The "nik" at the end is a Russian or Yiddish suffix indicating "a person who..." (As in "Beatnik"; in English, this would be something like calling them "The Thirty-Sixers".) The number 36 is twice 18. In gematria (a form of Jewish numerology), the number 18 stands for "life", because the Hebrew letters that spell chai, meaning "living", add up to 18. Because 36 = 2×18, it represents "two lives".
- The gematria of the Hebrew letter מ
- The number of days the spies were in the land of Canaan
- Years in the desert—a generation
- Days and nights of rain during the flood that occurred at the time of Noah
- Isaac's age at marriage to Rebecca
- Esau's age at marriage to his first two wives
- Number of days Jonah prophesies will pass before Nineveh is destroyed. They repent in the interim.
- Number of se'ah (volume measurement of water) in a mikveh (ritual bath)
- Number of years of the reign of David, Solomon, and the most righteous judges in the book of Judges
- Number of lashes for one who transgresses a commandment
- Number of days which the Torah was given
- Number of weeks a person is formed in his mother's womb
- Number of curses on Adam
- Minimum age at which a man could join the Sanhedrin
- Letters in one of God's Divine Names
- The gematria of Adonai
- The gematria of the Hebrew letter ע
- Members of the Sanhedrin
- Life of King David
- Years between the destruction of the first and construction of the Second Temple
- Year (CE) of the Destruction of the Second Temple
- Number of scribes who translated the Septuagint
- Number of date-palms at the Israelites' encampment following the incident at Marah
- Number of people who went to Egypt with Jacob
- The gematria of Paz, refined gold
- Gematria of Abraham (אברהם)
- Number of positive commandments
- Number of limbs (איברים) in man's body
- Length of the solar calendar (which has significance in Judaism)
- Total number of years the First Temple stood
- Echad Mi Yodea ("who knows one?"), a Passover song based on the religious meanings of the first thirteen numbers
- Bible code, a purported set of secret messages encoded within the Torah.
- Biblical and Talmudic units of measurement
- Chol HaMoed, the intermediate days during Passover and Sukkot.
- Chronology of the Bible
- Counting of the Omer
- Hebrew calendar
- Hebrew numerals
- Jewish and Israeli holidays 2000–2050
- Jewish symbolism
- Lag BaOmer, 33rd day of counting the Omer.
- Notarikon, a method of deriving a word by using each of its initial letters.
- Sephirot, the 10 attributes/emanations found in Kabbalah.
- Weekly Torah portion, division of the Torah into 54 portions.
- Kaplan 1990: p. 57
- Dosick 1995: p. 155
- Zwerin, Rabbi Raymond A. (September 15, 2002 / 5763). "THE 36 - WHO ARE THEY?". Temple Sinai, Denver: americanet.com. Archived from the original on Jan 18, 2003. Retrieved 3 August 2010. Check date values in:
- Numbers 14:18-35
- "Hebrew Gematria - A Lion's Might". 2010-01-29. Retrieved 2011-04-28.
- Kaplan, Rabbi Aryeh (1990). Sutton, Abraham (ed.). Inner Space. Brooklyn, NY: Moznaim. p. 254. ISBN 0-940118-56-4. Retrieved 2010-09-19.
- Ganz, Yaffa (1981). Who Knows One?: A Book of Jewish Numbers. Nanuet, NY: Feldheim Publishers. p. 32. ISBN 0-87306-285-X. Retrieved 2010-09-19.
- Samuel, Gabriella (2007). The Kabbalah Handbook: A Concise Encyclopedia of Terms and Concepts in Jewish Mysticism. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher. p. 467. ISBN 1-58542-560-5. Retrieved 2010-09-19.
- Dosick, Wayne (1995). Living Judaism: The Complete Guide to Jewish Belief, Tradition, and Practice. New York: HarperCollins. p. 155. ISBN 0-06-062179-6. Retrieved 2010-09-19.
- Kaplan, Aryeh (5-1-1997). Sefer Yetzirah. New York: Weiser Books. p. 424. ISBN 0-87728-855-0. Retrieved 2010-09-20. Check date values in:
- Coleman, Wade (2008). Sepher Sapphires, A Treatise On Gematria The Magical Language. Fraternity of the Hidden Light. ISBN 0981897703.