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Famous 40s

Gloria Steinem famously said, “This is what 40 looks like.” In honor of Lilith’s 40th anniversary, examples of this milestone number, with its special significance in women’s lives and in Jewish life. 

40 weeks is the average pregnancy • 40 se’ah is the halakhic measure of water to fill a mikveh • 40 years is how long the Children of Israel wandered in the desert • 40 is the highest number counted up on Sesame Street • 40 is the number of days of rain during The Flood • 40 below is the temperature at which Fahrenheit and Celsius converge • 40 are the sides of the world, according to Kabbalah • 40 days fall between the first day of Elul and Yom Kippur, a time of reflection and atonement (t’shuvah) • 40 hours fill a workweek (thank the unions) • 40 years of age is when one can safely begin to study Kabbalah (women too!) 

© 2011 Lilith Magazine