Significance of 13 in Judaism

There is much confusion regarding the number 13. Why is it considered to be a good number in some places and a bad number in others?

According to Jewish tradition, the number 13 is a very significant one and considered to be a blessed number.


When a Jewish boy comes of age at 13 years old he has become a Bar Mitzvah and he is obligated to observe the commandments.

He is also recognized as having the same rights and responsibilities as an adult. A Jewish girl, celebrates her Bat Mitzvah when she turns 12.

The Maimonides states that the number 13 represents the number of principles of Jewish faith .

In addition, the foundations of Judaism are based on the original 13 Tribes of Israel: the 11 sons of Jacob and the 2 sons of Joseph.

According to the Talmud , the core of the Selichot prayers is the 13 Attributes of Mercy that G-d taught Moses .

However, in many places the number 13 is considered to be an unlucky number. There are many theories regarding it and one of the common one is that 13 is the number of people who were present at the Last Supper, alone with Jesus. Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th member to arrive.

Friday 13

According to another tradition, the final act of suppression of the Knights Templar occurred on Friday, October 13, 1307 so perhaps this is the origin of the scary “Friday the 13th”…

And what do you think about the number 13? Post your comments on our Facebook page:

Main phrases of the Post, Transcription & Translation:

Judaism –  Yhadot – יַהֲדוּת

Thirteen –  Shlosh  Esre – שְׁלוֹשׁ עֶשְׂרֵה 

Friday –  Yom Shishi – יוֹם שִׁשִּׁי

Faith – Emuna -אֱמוּנָה 

Luck – Mazal –  מַזָּל

15 Responses to Significance of 13 in Judaism

  1. Richard Cyubahiro says:

    Thank you for your clarification and information. I am happy to know some things about Israel! May God bless Jews (Israel).


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  3. Garik says:

    Always good to promote camp. Let me add aehtonr thought: Grandparents should think seriously about giving their grandkids a summer at camp gift for Chanukah. We have been doing that for years for our grandkids. We always give them a certificate entitling them to register for camp at a sessio of their own choosing. We did this for years for Jeremy (Swig.Newman), are still doing it for Adam who in 2011 will be a CIT (Newman) and have been doing it for Sarah and leah (Gindling Hilltop) since they were old enough to go to camp. It’s a bit expensive to send three or four kids to camp but worth every penny. It’s the best give we could give and that they could receive. It would be nice if the URJ camps developed Gift Certificates for grandparents to give. I have suggested it but received no response.