Today is not a good day for paraskavedekatriaphobics – that is those who are afraid of Friday the 13th.  Toda is Friday the 13th and many believe that this is a very unlucky day.  Most paraskavedekatriaphobics don’t really know why they are afraid of this day.  They are simply the victims of well-known superstitions.  These superstitions are most likely based partially upon teachings that assert that the number 13 is an incomplete number.  There are 12 tribes of Israel, 12 hours on a clocks, 12 months in a year, 12 Olympic gods…13 is incomplete.  In addition, Christian sources teach that Jesus was crucified on a Friday.  Furthermore, at the last supper, it is taught that 13 people were seated at the table.  As a result, some believe that it is dangerous to have 13 people at a table.  In the 14th century, Chaucer and The Canterbury Tales taught “on a Friday fell all this misfortune”.  By the 1800’s, it was widely believed that it was unlucky to begin a new adventure, give birth, get married, etc on a Friday.

To all you paraskavedekatriaphobics out there, I have good news for you: for Jews, Friday and the number 13 are far from “unlucky”!  Friday is the day we prepare for Shabbat – our day of rest and joy.  Friday is a busy day, one filled with shopping, cooking and putting together other things that we will need to enjoy Shabbat.  Friday is the 6th day of the week.  The number 7 is considered a complete number in Judaism as it is the last day of the week – our Shabbat.  Judaism, interestingly enough, does not teach that 6 is an incomplete number.  Rather, it teaches us that 6 is the “lead-in” day – the day we get ready for greatness!  Friday, the 6th day, is our wonderful “lead-in” day.

13 in Judaism is far from an unlucky number.  Consider when our children become bar mitzvah – at age 13 – an age of responsibility and celebration!  God is described as having 13 merciful, caring, loving attributes.  And the great Jewish philosopher Maimonides taught that in order to be a true Jew, one must embrace 13 foundations of Judaism.  13 is a wonderful, powerful, holy and complete number in Judaism.

And, thus, I wish you a happy Friday the 13th and a Shabbat Shalom!


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