Going over this weeks parsha (settle down, they asked me lain a little, I wasn’t doing shtayim mikrah), I noticed something a little odd.

The Torah give very specific numbers in the counts of the tribes and the whole congregation.

But the numbers of the Levites eligible to be counted is a remarkably round number.  Twenty two thousand. 

That’s it.  Not 22,371, not 22,150, nothing like that.  22,000, exactly.  Strange, no?  What are the chances that the count would come out on a thousand’s number, exactly (don’t say 1/1000, OK)?

Rashi addresses a different problem (that if you add up the numbers of the three clans, it comes out to a different number….) but not this.

So, is the number exact or rounded?  And what the hell difference does it make?


One response to “Rounding

  1. if halacha is based on (basically) a literal translation of the good book, must we not assume that when the book says that there were 20k people, there were actually 20k people (and not any other number)?

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