Significance of numbers in Judaism

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Numbers play an important part 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."[1]


1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · 6 · 7 · 8 · 9 · 10 · 11 · 12
13 · 14 · 15 · 16 · 17 · 18 · 19 · 20 · 22 · 23
24 · 25 · 26 · 27 · 28 · 29 · 30 · 33 · 36 · 40
42 · 44 • 49 · 50 · 54 · 60 · 63 · 70 · 80
90 · 100 · 120 · 147 · 150 · 175 · 180 · 200
216 · 245 · 248 · 300 · 365 · 374 · 400 · 430
480 · 586 · 600 · 601 · 613 · 702 · 930 · 950
969 · 304,805
See Also · Notes · References


  • The gematria (numerical value) of the Hebrew letter א
  • The Oneness of G-d







  • The gematria of the Hebrew letter ז
  • The number 7 is the Divine number of completion
  • A covenant promise (in Hebrew, the expression literally translated as "to seven oneself" means "to swear a covenant")[2]
  • The general symbol for all association with God; the favorite religious number of Judaism, typifying the covenant of holiness and sanctification, and also all that was holy and sanctifying in purpose
  • The Seventh Day, the Sabbath



  • The gematria of the Hebrew letter ט
  • The nine months of pregnancy (tisha yerhei leida)



  • 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.[3] The other is 16.


  • 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.


  • Gematria of "CHAI" חַי, the Hebrew word for life. Numbers evenly divisible by this number are considered good luck.




  • 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).[4]

    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.[4]

  • 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".













  • Gematria of Lion[5] (בורה) and Gevurah (גבורה)


  • Gematria of Abraham (אברהם)












See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kaplan 1990: p. 57
  2. ^
  3. ^ Dosick 1995: p. 155
  4. ^ a b Zwerin, Rabbi Raymond A. (September 15, 2002 / 5763). "THE 36 - WHO ARE THEY?". Temple Sinai, Denver: Archived from the original on Jan 18, 2003. Retrieved 3 August 2010.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  5. ^ "Hebrew Gematria - A Lion's Might". 2010-01-29. Retrieved 2011-04-28.