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Exceptions to Inclusive reckoning


Rabbi Yoel Lieberman

Shevat 14, 5781
Recently, in my 40s my family discovered our Jewish roots, and that my great grandfather was a rabbi from France, and I’m trying to learn about Jewish culture and the Tanakh. I’m familiar with the concept of Jewish inclusive reckoning. - Can you confirm that in passages like the giving of the Torah in Exodus 32, and in Genesis 7 where it explicitly says it "rained 40 days and 40 nights" or in the book of Jonah 1:17, "That Jonah was in the belly of the great fish 3 days and 3 nights" , etc, that Inclusive reckoning does not apply?? In other words, we should interpret these passages to mean literal 24 hour days, since the passages explicitly say "x days and x nights" ? Respectfully, Mr Loren O. I am happy for the site to publish the question and the answer to help others
Shalom, Each verse in the Torah must be expounded on its own. The commentary of numbers in one verse does not necessarily apply to a similar verse. The concept of 40 days appears many times in the Torah and not all these numbers are calculated the same way. In regarding to the flood ,for example, in Genesis 7 where it says it rained 40 days and 40 nights, it should be noted that it says that the rain began during the day. This can lead to the calculation that since the rain had begun in the day time, and not at night, it was then followed by another full 40 , twenty four days. The concept of 3 days, also appears many times in the Bible in addition to Jonah 2; Genesis 42, Exodus 19, Joshua 12, Hosea 6, Ezra 8, Esther 5. This does not automatically mean that the number of 3 days in each instance is identical. All the best
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