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

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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).


  2. Stephen says:

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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.

  4. rhea pollock says:

    i was looking at the list of hebrew names…which did not progress past the first page….could you please write in hebrew my son’s name….Seth….thanks

  5. Samuel Korson says:

    Todah rabah for the information regarding the number 13, a number that I’ve always tried to avoid; no longer will I do so. Our rabbi once said that 13 was a lucky number, for Jews, but never mentioned why. I needed to get the answer from 1/3 around the world.

  6. charles Johnson says:

    thanks for the information on the number 13. Good to know its just not what others have tried to make it into.

    Shalom and many blessings

  7. Phyllis G says:

    Holy Greetings and thanks for information
    about 13th as my nephew born March 13 always
    thought it was a bad number as quite a few
    sudden, sad instances have occurred then.
    Last Sunday I heard that 10 is a complete
    number in the Bible as the numbers start again to continue.
    Thanks for explanation of Haggadah – Shalom

  8. Brian says:

    I heard that 13 is unlucky to jews because of a massacre of a group of jews in captivity by a ancient king I think was Babalonyian on the 13th day of the month around 600 BCE.

  9. Jahneeta says:

    Thanks for the information. And May God bless all his people Jews, Muslims and Christians. We are all children of Abraham.

  10. Rahel says:

    The Hebrew words for “love” (ahava), “care” (de’aga), and “one” (echad) all have the numerical value of 13.

    • anne white says:

      I love the number 13. My wonderful late Jewish husbands birthday was 13 november, after he passed this world in 2013, God told me to pick up a handful of stones and count them so i did and they added up to 13. That same week I found one of our anniversary cards. We had been married 37 years, yet it was the only card he had put 13 kisses on. I recall that day he had made a point of telling me he had given 13 kisses as he handed to me with much love and joy. Then today I shared this with my son then, later this evening my friend rang me to say she had spent £1300 on her house survey fees. so I thank God for His blessed reminders of His love and my dearest husband is still reminding me of those 13 kisses :-)

  11. Gabriele van Doorn says:

    For the paganists the 13th moon in one year, called Blue Moon, is something special as it does not happen every year. Christianity doesn’t want to share this view and made it an unhappy number

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