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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Power of Nines

A few articles and blogs have been talking about this.
I first saw this on Ynet, quoting Rav Metzger - the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel:
The chief rabbi noted that, according to Kabbalah, the 13 minutes between the hours of 1:43 pm and 1:56 pm on Thursday have unique qualities. He called upon the public to take advantage of this occasion to read psalms for Gilad's rescue. "With the power of prayer, we can open the heavens and be worthy of our heart's wishes being granted – that Gilad will light the Hannukah candles with his family."

Shirat Devorah quoted the Ynet article.
Bluke noted a Kupat Ha'ir poster about the concept. Josh Waxman notes this and links to the source of this idea - the Berit Menuha, bringing information about its author.
Nava adds that the Hesed LeAvraham and the Ramban have mentioned this idea too.

The idea is that the 9th year of the Yovel, the 9th month, the 9th day, and the 9th hour of the day is the choicest time, and this is a good time to pray when prayers would be most accepted.
The Berit Menuha explains Kabbalistically (I'm not saying I understand it fully) that there are 3 Shabbatot: the lower Shabbat - which corresponds to the number 7, the middle Shabbat - which corresponds to the number 8, and the upper Shabbat - which corresponds to the number 9.
Also, the ninth hour is when Eliyahu Hanavi prayed.
The Berit Menuha adds that if someone is born at this hour, he will undoubtedly merit kingship:

על כן כל איש שנולד בשנה הט׳ ליובל בחודש הט׳ ביום הט׳
בשעה הט׳ ושיתחיל לצמוח הוא כמו צומח של כל אלו הרי זה
עולה למלוכה בלי ספק


At Wed Nov 25, 04:45:00 PM 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

and what if you're born on the 9th of the month ?

At Wed Nov 25, 04:46:00 PM 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I suppose the Rav meant Israel time. I'll try to check sources tonight, but do you know why the 143--156 window? I am wondering if this is the midpoint of the 9th hour.


At Wed Nov 25, 04:49:00 PM 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also isn't it just a little out of character for the Askh. chief rabbi making this announcement rather than a mekubal?


At Wed Nov 25, 05:27:00 PM 2009, Blogger yaak said...


I would say the specific times of 1:43-1:56 are Israel time, but the idea of the 9th hour being an עת רצון I think is throughout the world - wherever you are. Maybe I'm wrong about that - I don't know.

You could be right about 1:43 being the midpoint - I don't know why that minute was chosen. The beginning of the 9th hour starts earlier (both acc. to the M"A and the GR"A).

I'm guessing that the Ashkenazi chief rabbi was repeating something he heard from others, but he was saying that the time should be focused on praying for Gilad Shalit.

At Thu Nov 26, 04:25:00 AM 2009, Blogger Jonathan said...

None of the sources seem to mention the 13 minute "window". Why not the whole hour?

At Thu Nov 26, 02:15:00 PM 2009, Blogger joshwaxman said...

in terms of the 13 minute window, i've heard it suggested that given different shittos about how to calculate the hours of the day, these 13 (or with other shittos, 8) minutes fulfill all opinions of being in the 9th hour.

to me, it sounds like a Biblical prohibition rather than a random arcane segulah. In Sanhedrin 65a, in discussing MeOnen, we have:

R. Akiba said: It is one who calculates the times and hours, saying, To-day is propitious for setting forth; tomorrow for making purchases; the wheat ripening on the eve of the seventh year is generally sound; let the beans be pulled up [instead of being harvested in the usual manner] to save them from becoming wormy.

Note even the connection to the seventh year. Here, the 9th of the 9th, etc. of yovel. Of course, on the other hand, there is a concept of Eis Ratzon.

But here, they are transforming it into a hocus pocus in which dedicated people will do this service on your behalf on a precise 13 minutes, which have been calculated as a convergence of 9s -- I get the impression that Rabbi Akiva would be none too happy. Add to it that it is not just for tefillah, but also a propitious time for an infant who is born then.

Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. But it gives me the willies. And rather than jumping on to a segulah that many Gedolim (including Rav Kanievsky) said they never heard of, just because this segulah was popularized, and where there are so many other segulos to choose from -- I would say that shev veAl taaseh is adif.

kol tuv,

At Thu Nov 26, 02:39:00 PM 2009, Blogger joshwaxman said...

indeed, read what they write, and they say that it is because they are not sure of the time. (unlike the Ramban who *surely* could point to a specific time and say that this was it.)

in terms of Ramban supporting this (that it is a special time), I saw the quote. But this is from the Luach, עתים לבינה that it cites it from the Ramban. Can we find the Ramban himself, saying ודע כי השנה התשיעית ליובל היא השנה המובחרת? Where is he getting this quote from?

kol tuv,

At Fri Nov 27, 12:44:00 PM 2009, Blogger yaak said...

I realize the point is moot now, but just to make the point for the next time this occurs :)

I don't believe praying at a certain time falls into the category of Me'onein. As you said, there is a concept of Eit Ratzon. Me'onein seems more likely to mean to start something new at a certain time.

That being true, I don't see the harm in it. Praying is beneficial at any time of the day. Even if you want to be "Mahmir" not to do it, I believe even you would agree that it would be OK to use some type of Havla'ah and pray from 1:00 to 2:30, for example. Therefore, I disagree with your Psak of Sheiv Ve'al Ta'aseh Adif.

At Tue Jun 01, 06:23:00 PM 2010, Anonymous Anonymous said...

well i'm curious in this, cause i was born 9/9/1989 at 9:00 am, and i was asking my math teacher why 9 is the only number with true value its the only number if added to its self the sum of the numbers will always equal nine if you break it back down to a single number 9+9= 18 1+8 = 9 and for some reason the pattern always contiunes as long as you keep adding nine to the sum 18+9 = 27 2+7= 9 and also all the didgets of my birthdate add back up to 9 anyways if someone would email me more about this at

At Mon Dec 01, 02:49:00 PM 2014, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The tradition from Berit Menuḥa is that Sivan, not Kislev, is the auspicious ninth month:

“In the ninth [month of the civil calendar] Israel was answered by the Sea. And the ninth [seasonal] hour is the time of merriment, and blessing, and joy. It is the hour of the afternoon prayer in which Elijah was answered, as is written: And it happened at the hour of the afternoon offering that Elijah the prophet approached [1 Kings 18:36, cf. BT Berakhot 6b]. It is a tradition to you that the ninth year of the Jubilee will be the most auspicious year, the ninth month, will be a month of favor, and it will be the most auspicious of months. The ninth day of the month will be the most auspicious day of the month, and the ninth hour of the day will be the most auspicious hour of hours. And the same occurs above, among the highest ones; the ninth is most auspicious” (Berit Menuḥa). Also, the Zohar makes allusions here:

“Come and see: There are times in the year when favor is found, and times in the year when Judgment looms. There are times in the month when favor is found, and times in the month when judgments loom over all. There are times in the week when favor is found, and times in the week when judgments appear in the world. There are times in the day when favor is found and the world is fragrant, and times in the day when judgments loom – and even in the hour. Thus it is written: [For everything there is a season,] and a time for every matter (under heaven) [Ecclesiastes 3:1], and similarly: [As for me, may my prayer to You, O YHWH, come] at a time of favor… [Psalms 69:14], and similarly:Why, YHWH, do You stand far off, and hide in times of trouble? [Psalms 10:1], and similarly: From afar, YHWH appeared to me [Jeremiah 31:3]. And times when He is near, as it is written: Seek YHWH when He may be found, call to Him when He is near[Isaiah 55:6]; YHWH is near to all who call Him [Psalms 145:18]. Therefore, that he not enter at all times into the sanctuary [Leviticus 16:2]” (Zohar 3:58a-b).

At Mon Dec 01, 03:04:00 PM 2014, Blogger yaak said...


How is it clear that it refers to Sivan? Everyone (including the former Chief Rabbi of Israel and many others) seems to indicate that it refers to Kislev. In addition, the numbering of months in Tanach always starts from Nissan - not Tishri.

Whose tradition is this? Can you give better proofs to your claim?


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