Why Is 18 A Lucky Number In Judaism

Judaism is a monotheistic religion that has been around for centuries, and while there are many science and religious based theories that support why the number 18 is lucky in the Jewish faith, there is no definitive answer. What is agreed upon is that most Jews believe that 18 is one of the most powerful numbers in the Jewish religion, and it is commonly seen as a symbol of luck and good fortune. This article aims to discuss why 18 is lucky in Judaism and provide insight and analysis about this holy number.

The number 18 is called “Chai” or “life” in Hebrew, which gives it an extra layer of importance in the Jewish faith. Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, a professor of Jewish Mysticism and Spirituality at the University of Pennsylvania, wrote in his book, ‘Jewish Lights: Celebrations of the Jewish Spirit’, that “The Life Force of the universe is symbolized and depicted by the number 18”. This is because the numerals that spell out the word ‘Chai’ add up to 18, and in Hebrew, the letters are considered to be made up of a numerical value. According to Schachter-Shalomi, 18 is a strong number as it is speculated to be the numerical equivalent of the Hebrew word ‘Chai’ as well as the highest value of two of the most important words used in the ancient Jewish scriptures.

Maybe you have come across gifts adorned with the Chai symbol – often a necklace, bracelet or amulet with either two overlapping Hebrew letters or numerical symbols. The overlapping letters are connected to the bond of marriage and the jeweller could inscribe the initials of the couple into the metal. It is also quite common to find Chai symbols engraved into the metal of wedding rings or other important Jewish jewelry.

Moreover, 18 is thought to be lucky as it has a strong kabbalistic significance in Judaism. Kabbalah is an ancient Jewish scholarly system of scriptures and teachings, built upon a body of esoteric knowledge. According to some interpretations of Kabbalah, the number 18 stands for “wisdom” and the number has a special connection to the 18 chapters of Psalms. The chapters are meditated on, to bring peace and luck, as they regularly make references to the power of divine mercy.

Because the number 18 is seen to have a powerful significance in Judaism, there are many ritualistic practices that include it. For example, traditional Jewish weddings often have 18 blessings given by the rabbi and for a Jewish baby’s circumcision ceremony, there can be 18 members of the family chosen to be honoured with the special honour of reclining at the ceremonial meal.

Rabbi Issamar Ginzberg has mentioned that the Talmud states that “Blessed is he that doubles the Chai” meaning that to be doubly blessed, eighteen blessings are important. The Talmud also states that “Ten measures for charity are doubled through Chai”, so whenever someone donates money to charity, it is traditional to donate eighteen coins instead of the expected amount.

It is interesting to note that the numerical equivalence of the word ‘Chai’ in Hebrew is 36, but to get 18 in most sources, it is simplified and divided by the numerical value of the word ‘Yud’ which is the first letter of the word ‘Chai’. It is stated that if you have a hard time counting 18 candles on a Jewish wedding cake, it means you are a lucky one who is blessed with good fortune and happiness.

What is the Spiritual Meaning Of 18?

The number 18 is thought to represent spiritual enlightenment, passion and love. Many believe that the power of 18 can help in overcoming all odds, conquering difficult tasks and bringing order and harmony, into one’s life. By internalising the spiritual power of the number 18, one is said to be able to attract and obtain success in any endeavour.

Many Jews wear a cylindrical object called a ‘Chai’, with the numerical symbol 18 embedded into it. It is believed to keep away negative energies and bring luck and good fortune into one’s life. It is also a symbol of life and of joy.

A popular and widely accepted interpretation is that it symbolises the maxim (or’ 4 word promise’) that is commonly said between two Jewish people: L’Chaim, which translates to “to life” in English.


In conclusion, 18 is a lucky number in Judaism and is webbed into many of its rituals and practices, and is seen as a symbol of good luck and spiritual enlightenment. While it is an important number to most Jews, not everyone may agree with this notion and that is perfectly fine. It is important to understand the symbolic importance of the number 18 in the Jewish faith, as well as its spiritual roots.


The Jewish faith is considered a religion of numbers and symbols, and the significance of the number 18 has a long and rich history. The Jewish nation is made up of 12 tribes and 6 orders, which are known as the 18th blessing. In Exodus 16, verse 18, it is noted that “the people of Israel ate manna forty years, until they came to a land of rest”, and it was said to be forty-five years of manna, totalling up to 18. The number 18 also appears in the Mishnah, which is the oral law of the Jewish community.

The ancient sages of Judaism taught that 18 wise men (anonymous, from different parts of the world) are always working to keep the balance of the world. Furthermore, it is said that the 18 day in the Jewish month of ‘Iyyar’ marks the day the 32,000 students of Rabbi Akiva, who died during a plague, were buried in a mass grave. And Rabbi Akiva’s teachings have become some of the most important Jewish philosophies of our time.

The tradition of lighting 18 candles on the eve of Chanukah is also significant, signifying the celebration of the miracle of oil (the Chanukah story goes that the Jews had one cruse of oil, which lasted 8 days instead of one) and the power of the number 18.

Symbolic Interpritations

It is said in Jewish culture that the number 18 is composed of two important Hebrew letters, the ‘Cheth’ and the ‘Yud’ which together means “life” – Chai. It provides hope and good luck and is a reminder to appreciate and celebrate life. Thus, it is often used in jewellery to give incentive and a positive outlook to life.

It is also seen as symbol of the Torah, the holy book of Jewish scripture which is said to have 613 commandments and 18 of these commands are related to a strong faith and love of God, listed in the book of Leviticus, glorifying the names of God through good deeds.

The number 18 is a reminder for Jews to practice their tradition and to believe in the mystical forces of the world. Through the spiritual connection of the number 18, many Jews believe that it brings good luck and protection from any difficulty or sorrow, especially when it is written on an amulet or necklace.

Achievements and Milestones

The number 18 is widely used in Jewish culture to celebrate milestones and achievements. A Jewish man is considered an adult when he turns 18, and it is a common Jewish custom to give gifts of monetary value that is based on the number 18, as a way of offering good fortune and blessing the recipient. Babies usually receive 18 pieces of silver or gold coins when they are born.

It is also a common custom to celebrate a Bar Mitzvah on the child’s 18th birthday, to formally announce that the child is now an adult and he will continue to carry on the spiritual traditions of the Jewish people.

The number 18 is also used to commemorate sorrowful occasions. For example, the tradition of lighting 18 memorial candles in the house of mourning is said to be a way of honouring the dead and paying respects to the family of the deceased.

Popular Superstitions

The enduring power of superstitious beliefs also provides an interesting explanation for why 18 is a lucky number in Judaism. One popular superstition is that if a Jewish man has the number 18 tattooed on him, it is said to bring him protection from the evil eye. Another superstition is that if a bride steps on 18 stones on her wedding day,good luck and fertility will follow.

Some Jews also believe that the number 18 has the power to protect one from physical and emotional harm, and it is a physical manifestation of the protection offered by God. Jewellery such as amulets and necklaces with the number 18 inscribed on them are thought to be powerful spiritual protectors.

And lastly, some Jewish people believe that if there is a room in your home with the number 18, it is said to bring in more luck and good fortune. This is because it is associated with the number of days that Rabbi Akiva’s students died in the plague, and lighting 18 candles in that room is believed to bring forth healing energy and spiritual protection.

Josephine Beck is a passionate seeker of religious knowledge. She loves to explore the depths of faith and understanding, often asking questions that challenge traditional beliefs. Her goal is to learn more about the different interpretations of religion, as well as how they intersect with one another.

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