Fifteen

The number fifteen on the calendar seems to have some good days and some bad days… and from what I’ve seen, there are some readily-known examples of both.  Since everyone likes to hear the bad news first when considering “I have good news and I have bad news,” I will give the negative fifteens first.

Today (although probably yesterday for some readers… yeah, I should have written and posted this earlier!) is April 15, which is Tax Day in America.  This is when tax returns are due, and many people approach this day with a significant amount of dread and dolour.  Thankfully, it was not stressful to me, but I can understand how it will be for many people.

And the month prior to this was March, and there’s the Ides of March.  Granted, I don’t think that we have any Julius Caesars still prancing around, but you never know. That’s two consecutive months with fifteens that are taken to be negative. Is that always how it is, however? I would like to contend no: in the Jewish calendar, there are several months where the fifteen is celebratory.

The first month of the calendar, ניסן (Nisan), has the fifteenth day of the month as a holiday: the first night of Passover! The season of our liberation… and the seder is always a fun event to attend that night.

A few months later, a holiday on the fifteenth day I have mentioned before on this blog, if I recall correctly. That date is ט”ו באב (Tu b’Av), and is essentially the Jewish version of Valentine’s Day. And this one happens six days after the day of calamity!

Two months after that, ט”ו בתשרי (Tu b’Tishri) has a more well-known name: Sukkot! So, two of the major Jewish holidays have their first days on the 15th of a month. And both are highly-positive, festive days. Sukkot is also called זמן שמחתנו (Time of our Joy).

One more holiday on a fifteenth: in the month of שבט (Shevat), the New Year of the Trees is given as ט”ו בשבט.  It’s a time to enjoy different kinds of fruits and appreciate nature. This month happens during January or February, so clearly it’s not exactly like an Arbor Day with respect to the middle of the USA.

So, two fifteens with respect to the Gregorian calendar are negative, and four fifteens with respect to the Hebrew calendar are positive. Then again, it seems many fifteens are neutral.

What other sorts of patterns can you find with fifteens?

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היום שתים-עשר יום: שהם שבוע אחד וחמישה ימים לעומר

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EDIT: Another “15” came up: the Chicago Blackhawks are 15 wins away from the Stanley Cup after a 4-3 double-overtime win in Nashville, rallying from an 0-3 deficit after one period!

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