Rounding

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?

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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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