18 vs. 26, 52, and 101 – Ashkenazi and Sepharadic ‘minhogim’ in צדקה – charity pledges

I heard an interesting thing on Nachum Segal’s ערב שבת JM in the AM radio program earlier today, app. seven and a half minutes before the end of the program.

He was hosting some Sepharadic guests, Rabbi Moshe Tessone and Nissim Contente.

Nachum remarked that while אשכנזי donors often donate in various multiples of חי (eighteen), among ספרדים (presumably not all of such a large and varied group, but I am not sure which sub-groups fit the bill. Anyone know?), other numbers are popular. It was explained that Sepharadim often pledge and give using the numbers of twenty six (Yud-Kay-Vov-Kay), fifty two, בגימטריא בן, which was said to be a סגולה לבנים, and one hundred and one (בגימטריא מיכאל, מלאך מיכאל).

You can hear the piece at http://www.wfmu.org/playlists/shows/39782.

Anyone know more about this?

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4 Responses to “18 vs. 26, 52, and 101 – Ashkenazi and Sepharadic ‘minhogim’ in צדקה – charity pledges”

  1. Sam Says:

    R. M. Feinstein once said it would be a bigger segulah for life to give the gematria of mais.

  2. Treasures of Ashkenaz Says:

    I think I heard a quip like that in the name of the Satmar Rebbe, R. Yoel Teitelbaum. Perhaps the attribution has gotten garbled somewhere?

  3. curious cat Says:

    26 = Hashem’s name. The secret of the four letter name is represented within the Zohar and Arizal as the secret of tzedaka. Yud is the coin, hey is the hand giving, vav is the outstretched arm, and hey is the hand receiving. This is generally known as the tikkun for tzeddakah.

    The 52 is simply double 26, like you guys double 18 to 36.

    101 is gematria Michael which is rachamim, mercy, also the concept of tzedakah. It also represents the next set of 100, meaning that you’re no longer giving within 100, but are now within the 200 thresh hold. Like when a person turns 19, he is considered as in his 20th year.

  4. Personal Trainer In Brooklyn Says:

    Very interesting, thank you. It turns out that Sephardim follow both customs you mention, it is not rare to see all of the amounts you mentioned, both the multiples of Chai and also 26, 52, 101.

    Less often have I seen Ashkenazim pledge something other than multiples of Chai, yet even that happens.

    Once the decree is issued and there no longer is such a thing as Ashkenaz and Sepharad, we will be much closer to moshiach coming and rebuilding the Bais Hameekdahsh through Ahavas Yisroel.

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