Echad Mi Yodaya (Who Knows One?) Challenge

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In a previous year, we asked our readership:
"In the song at the end of the Pesach Seder we describe the significance of the numbers from one to 13 as they relate to Jewish life and thought: "Three are the fathers, Four are the Mothers...12 are the Tribes of Israel..." What about the next 13 numbers? And after those? What significance do they have in Jewish tradition?"

Here are your responses:

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How about: 4 cups of wine, 3 matzahs, 6 items on seder plate (beitza, z'roa, karpas, chazeres, marror, charoses), and salt water = 14 things used at the seder.

I was born and raised in Amsterdam, Holland and every year at the seder we used to say: "And 14 who knows? 14 is Johan Cruijff (world famous Dutch soccer player with number 14 on his shirt). Sorry I couldn't come up with something more halachic.

Rachel's 14 family members who go to Egypt (Bereishet 46:22).

I know 14! 14 is the number of calendrical permutations (i.e. depending on whether the year has 12 or 13 months, what day Rosh Hashana is on, etc. the calendar can take on 14 different arrangements).

14 years Yaakov worked for Rachel and Leah, 14 advisers to King Achashverosh.

14 years conquering and settling the Land of Israel by Joshua and the 12 tribes.

14 separate ritual components of the seder, kadesh urchatz, etc. (Motzi-matzah is regarded as one).

Rabbi Jeffrey M. Cohen
Stanmore, Middlesex, UK

14 lambs offered each day of Succot; 14 days of dedication of the first Temple by Solomon.

Rabbi Edward M. Friedman,
Synagogue Emanu-El,
Charleston, S. Carolina

The 14 books of Rambam's (Maimonides) Yad Hachazakah. The Hebrew word "yad" has the numerical value 14.

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The Mishna in Pirkei Avos (5:25) states "a 15 year old begins the study of Gemara."

Fifteen is the number of words in the blessing we say over the Yom Tov candles.

Fifteen steps leading up to the Temple.

The 15 Psalms the Levites sang on the 15 stairs in the Temple.

Jechezkel Frank, Johannesburg

Rosh Hashana for fruit trees is 15th Shevat (known as Tu B'shevat)

Fifteen words in the bircat kohanim, the priestly blessings.

Laya E Witty, Brighton MA

The 15 sections of the Pesach Seder, 15 morning blessings.

15 cubits that the flood waters covered the mountain tops.

15 is the numerical value of G-d's name (yud and hey).

Sidney Stern, Highland Park, NJ

15 steps in the song "dayenu."

Fifteen generations from Abraham to King Solomon; then 15 generations from Solomon until the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash (Holy Temple).

Fifteen categories of women exempt their rivals from yibum and chalitzah.

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The 16th of Nissan is day the day the Omer was brought and the new grain is allowed. There are 16 strings on a Tallis (4 strings, doubled over, on each corner).

Sidney Stern, Highland Park NJ

The day in Nisan that permits new wheat. The day we brought the Omer offering and start "counting the Omer."

Sixteen adanim (sockets) at the east side of the Mishkan (Exodus 26:25).

The Ta'z, the Turei Zahav (Ta'z is gematria 16; this is stretching it).

Haim Roman, Jerusalem

Minimum width of reshus harabim -- public domain: 16 amos (cubits).

Zvi Freund, Kew Gardens, NY

Quoting from your January 16, '99 issue of "Ask the Rabbi": Which verse in the Torah has all the letters of the Aleph Beis? Answer: Exodus 16:16.

Sixteen descendants of Zilpah who went down to Mitzraim (Egypt).

During the Passover Seder we spill 16 drops of wine. This corresponds to the 16 sided sword of HKB"H (see Yalkut Shimoni, Tehillim 31:717), which corresponds to the 16 aliyot (Torah sections read) during the week. Shemot 15:3 begins with a yud and ends with a vav (yud and vav equalling 16) and describes Hashem as a warrior. This quoted by Eliezer ben Moshe HaDarshan as an allusion to the sword.

Sixteen is the number of animals the kohen gadol sacrifices on Yom Kippur.

In Emes Veyatziv (the prayer after Shema) including the word "emes," there are 16 adjectives describing "Ha'davar Ha'zeh -- This Thing." This "Thing" refers to the 16 verses of the first two paragraphs of the Shema (including "Baruch Shem").

16 mil by 16 mil (or 16 square parsah) is the amount of milk and honey that Reish Lakish found flowing in Tzippori (Megilla 6a). 17 is the length of time Jacob spent in Egypt in his last years.

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17 is the Gematria of "egoz" (nut) and "chet" (sin) without the "aleph." Which is one reason given for not eating nuts during the 10 Days of Repentance. Which shows to go you that you have to be nuts to sin!

Zvi Freund, Kew Gardens

17 is the gematria-value of "tov" -- "good."

Yosef was 17 years old when he was sold by his brothers.

I know 17. 17 is the number of camps in the desert. Each of the 12 tribes formed a camp, plus the four camps of levi'im, plus the Shechina (Divine presence) resting amongst the Jews.

I know 17! 17 words at the beginning of Sefer Bamidbar.

On the 17th of Cheshvan the flood began in the time of Noach. The Jewish People counted 17 yovlot (Jubilee years) from Joshua until the first destruction.

17 is the date in Tamuz on which five calamities befell the Jewish people: The Tablets were broken, the daily burnt-offering was abolished, a breach was made in Jerusalem's walls, the Roman's burned the Sefer Torah and an idol was placed in the Temple.

Who knows 17? The Menorah in the Temple was 17 handbreadths high, corresponding to the 17 words of the first verse of Bamidbar.

Rosalie E. Moriah

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18 is the number of life.

Shoshana, student of Nicola M. Bookey

"Shmoneh Esrei L'Chupah," lit. 18 years (and then) to the marriage canopy. Keep up the great work you do!

Mrs. T. Ansh, Jerusalem

18 is life/chai.

Who knows 18? 18 rings in one's backbone, 18 laws of treife were taught to Moshe. Who knows 19? 19 brachos (blessings) in the Shemonei Esrei (silent amida prayer). 19 days in the year that Hallel is recited

Who knows 18? I do! 18 is the last number of the "Who knows" questions (please).

18 is the amount of time it takes to turn matza dough into chametz (leaven).

Lag Baomer is the 18th of Iyar. People often give charity in multiples of "18," as 18 is gematria of Chai (life). And finally, on the 18th of Av, 18 years ago, I came to Israel from Argentina. I made "aliya!"

18 is the number of times G-d's name is mentioned in shema (Berachot 28b).

Chezkie Mark, Staten Island , NY

Top 14 15 16 17 18 19 20


19 is the number of years in a Jewish calendar cycle.

A complete set of Talmud is usually published in 20 volumes. Although a person becomes legally liable at 12 or 13 years of age, he is not really held fully accountable by G-d until age 20. If I remember correctly, Yaakov lived with Lavan for 20 years (7 years for Leah, 7 for Rachel, and 6 to earn his livelihood).

Top 14 15 16 17 18 19 20


20 planks on both the north and south sides of the Mishkan; 20 pieces of silver that Joseph was sold for by the brothers; 20 is the number at which people began to be counted for military service; 20 is the age at which a person suffers heavenly punishment.

20 amot is maximum height for Chanuka menorah, succah, and mavoi.

13 are the midot (attributes) of Hashem. Being that Hashem is omniscient, omnipresent, etc., His midot seem to be inclusive of everything beyond what is part of the song. Furthermore, the song begins with Hashem ("One is Hashem") and ends with Hashem (the 13 midot) so the whole song seems to be balanced well. As for the number 20 which you asked about, it says in Pirkei Avot that 20 is the age at which one begins to pursue (a career).

Hinda Kaplan, Brooklyn, NY

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