What are the Odds?


What are the Odds?

1,099,511,627,776 is a pretty big number. This number is equal to the odds a coin toss would produce only heads 40 times in a row. To give this number a little perspective you could place one dollar bills end to end and 1.1 trillion of them would reach to our sun. In the 2nd Temple era something of equal improbability took place. Traditionally, on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) a “lot” consisting of a white or black stone was randomly chosen to determine which sacrificial goat would be “for YHWH” and which one would be the “Azazel”, the scapegoat (Lev. 16). Up to 30 AD the results had been random. According to both the Jerusalem and Babylonian Talmud, during the 40 years after 30 AD until the temple was destroyed in 70 AD the black stone was chosen each time the lot was cast. This was quite an unusual occurrence to say the least. According to those same sources several other unexplained occurrences happened during those 40 years.

(The Yerushalmi, p.156-157) “Forty years before the destruction of the Temple, the western light (of the Lamp-stand,, the Menorah) went out, the crimson thread remained crimson, and the lot for the LORD always came up in the left hand. They would close the gates of the temple by night and get up in the morning and find them wide open”.

(Yoma 39a) “ Our rabbis taught: During the last forty years before the destruction of the Tempe the lot (‘For the Lord’) did not come up in the right hand; nor did the crimson-colored strap  become white; nor did the western most light shine; and the doors of the Hekl (Temple)would open by themselves”.

From a statistical standpoint that is pretty amazing odds, right?  Well, check this out.  In 2010, an event took place with odds that were even greater than those described above. On September 21, 2010, the Israel national Lottery or New Lotto drew the numbers 13, 14, 26, 32, 33, 36. Then a few weeks later on October 16, 2010, the New Lotto drew the same numbers only this time they were reversed. (36, 33, 32, 26, 14, 13) The news reports at the time stated the odds of this happening were in the range of 4 trillion to 1. Those same reports stated this had never happened in the history of world lotteries. Now that is a rare event indeed!

As you can imagine the results were challenged.  Lotto officials double checked the drawing and they were recertified, nothing untoward was found. Zvi Gilula, a professor at Hebrew University, was interviewed and he stated these types of odds were used to describe “the probability of life on Mars.”

The above was about the extent of the reporting on this strange event, but a little more context makes this unusual event even more intriguing.  In 2010, the Day of Atonement fell on the 18th of September. The New Lotto’s drawing took place 3 days later on the 21st of September. According to the Biblical calendar this would have been the 13th day of the 7th month. What is even more intriguing is from the 1st drawing on Sept. 21st until the 2nd drawing on Oct. 16th there are 26 days. (2 x 13).

Take a look at these numbers another way.
13+14+26 = 53
32+33+36 = 101

A table of prime numbers:

101 is the 26th prime number. 13, 53, and 101 are the 6th, 16th, and 26th prime numbers respectively.

(For those who like such things here is a little Biblical trivia: In the Old Testament (according to my Bible concordance) YHWH’s name is used 6519 times. In Hebrew the name YHWH has the numerical value of 26.  The prime factors of 6519 are 3, 41, 53.)

Now consider this: During those 26 days, between the two Lotto drawings, the feast of Tabernacles (Sukkoth) was celebrated. The feast of Tabernacles has some unusual instructions. If one were to check out the number of sacrifices and their order during those 7 days you will find a combination of the numbers 13, 14, and 26 (among others).

As described above the lottery tickets include numbers that can be understood within a bigger Biblical context. The odds of just the double drawings by themselves are so high they border on the incredible. Add context, time, and place and it could be argued it moves beyond probability to intent.

Here are a few final points to consider. As in the examples above there is some association between 13, 14, 26, and the Biblical / Hebrew religious calendar. Today the Biblical calendar is still based on the lunar cycle, and the visible light of the moon. Each month the visible reflected light of the moon, for several thousand years of recorded history, has waxed for 13 or 14 days and waned for 13 or 14 days.

On Saturday March 19th, 2011, the moon reached the 13th or 14th day of observable waxing light. This day also marks the closest the moon has been to the earth in the past 19 years. Meton of Athens observed that you could synchronize the lunar and solar calendar (within 2 hrs.) every 19 years. This 19 year intercalary cycle was called the Metonic cycle. In Biblical times this intercalary synchronization of the solar/lunar calendar was accomplished by adding a 13th month every 3 years or so.

The sum of the numbers 13, 14, 26, 32, 33, and 36 equals 154. 154 days from the last drawing of those numbers on October 6th  brings us to Saturday March 19th, 2011, the day of the “supermoon” and closet approach of the moon in the past 19 years.

I’ll let you decide if it means anything but I am left wondering, what are the odds?

A source for the news article on the New Lotto drawing: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/299169

A source for the Metonic cycle: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metonic_cycle

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