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Monday, May 9, 2005

Forty Two

Last night, my wife and I celebrated Mother's Day by leaving the kids with my mom and went out to see The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It was pretty good. It is not every day when you see a movie in which two nuclear missiles turn into a whale and pot of petunias and aliens torture their captives by reading them poetry.

A while back, someone asked Douglas Adams if the number 42 (the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything) meant anything or not. He replied that he just picked the number at random and did not mean anything.

However, even though 42 does not mean anything to him, however, the number does have some significance in Judaism. For example, the number of the cities of the Leviim (Levites) that were not designated as Ir Miklat (Cities of Refuge for people who killed accidentally) was 42. The prayer Ana BeKoach which is said before the start of Shabbos (the Sabbath) contains 42 words. Also, the prayer Ata Chonantanu which is said at the close of Shabbos, also contains 42 words.

To borrow a line from the movie: "Impossible? No, not impossible, just improbable."


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