I received this invitation from Kol Emeth via their newsletter:
This Friday night shabbat is Friday the 13th. The number 13 is a special number in Judaism. According to the Torah (and the haggadah), 13 is the number G-d’s attributes. 13 is also the number of Israel’s (Jacob’s) children. Using gematria (the system by which Hebrew letters add up to a number), the words: אהבה (Ahavah, Love) and אחד (Echad, Unity), both also add up to 13. Why not celebrate Shabbat and Friday the 13th with us this week at Kol Emeth, 6:00pm? We’ll sing and pray together for love and unity, and other of G-d’s gifts, celebrate Shabbat and have a little wine or grape juice together with Kiddush afterwards. Your attendance will also insure that we’ll be able to say kaddish for departed loved ones. Hope you can join us!
All of this made me think about the number 13. Americans are pretty thoroughly steeped in supersition about the number 13. There are hotels that don’t have a thirteenth floor! From a brief search of the internet it appears that fear of the number 13 is relatively modern and European in origin. So it makes sense that it didn’t catch on in Judaism. If you read the “Who Knows One?” in the haggadah at Passover you’ll recall that it ends with, “Who knows 13? Thirteen are the attributes of God.”
All this suggests that this Friday would be a wonderful time to explore a synagogue near you. Not sure where to go? Here’s a link to the Jewish Resource Guide, Jump to page 30 and find a synagogue near you. Or just email me, Dawn, and I’ll help you find one. Summer is a great time to shul shop!