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Phew! We made it!

Using Noah’s age at death (950) and doing some gobbledeegook arithmetic ‘calculations’, the end of the world should have been on … wait for it …. October 21, 2011!

Writing this a few days after this most terrifying of dates, all I can say is phew!

Forty days and nights…

todo.. write something interesting about the number forty.

what about the connection between 7 and 40?

dunno mathematically – but I do know that pregnancy is 7 x 40 days. From the beginning of the menstrual cycle  – to birth  that’s 40 weeks.  But maybe ‘the ancients’ didn’t know that.

The Number Seven

Yeah, so this could be the title of every post. Hands down, seven is the Bible’s favourite number. Trying to understand why, I came accross this:

J.K. Rowling used the number seven in  zillions of places in her books conciously or not, because our culture ‘knows’ 7 is a magic number. The bible has over 500 references to the number 7 – probably for the same reason. The biblical authors just knew that the number seven was the most perfect and divine number.

I read somewhere that ‘Sheva’ is the same root as the word ‘Sava’ – which means satisfied (at least in modern Hebrew).  Did it mean ‘complete’ in ancient Hebrew? And which came first – sheva or sava?  I would guess the number word came first.

So why was seven magical? Looking it up, it seems to have come from the Babylonians who also looked up. They saw seven heavenly bodies moving around in the sky: The sun and the moon and Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn.

And the phases of the moon – if you think about it, it’s a really neat way of counting the passage of time. I can imagine one guy saying to another – ” I’ll pop around to visit you in 7  days time, um, the moon is all black now, expect me when  it gets to a half circle.”

Or maybe this was the, or one of the reasons that seven was considered magical:

1+2 = 3 and  1 x 2 = 2

2+3 = 5 and 2 x 3 = 6

3+4 = 7 and 3 x 4 = 12

4+5 = 9  oof!! It’s not prime! And 6 x 12 isn’t equal to 4 x 5. Damn! Seven is the ‘last’ well behaved number… See – I told you seven was just perfect!

May you live ’till 120… עד מאה ועשרים

Breishit; 6:1-4

After an unusual myth like story in the Torah – where divine creatures make babies with people …  G-d limits the lifespan of humans to the ideal 120 years. That’s the factorial of 5, denoted 5! =  1 x 2 x 3 x 4 x 5 = 120.

[ I saw this here: The Torah, A Modern Commentary , Union of American Hebrew Congregations].

Why 5? I guess 4! would have been too young to die and 6! too old. Or is 5 itself a special number? And why factorial? I’m interested to see where else in the bible factorials are used.