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九色

Echad Mi Yodea? Who Knows One?

The numbers never change.
[additional-authors]
April 25, 2024
Tanja Ivanova/Getty Images

Who knows thirteen?
I know thirteen

Thirteen could have been the tribes if they let
Jacob鈥檚 daughter Dinah have one.
How would this night have been different
if women ran the show?

Who knows twelve?
I know twelve.

Twelve is the age of boys and girls
a year before they come to Torah.
Still unsure if they鈥檙e wise or wicked or simple.
Too bold to know what they don鈥檛 know.
Do any of us ever know? I鈥檓 still waiting
to find out.

Who knows eleven?
I know eleven.

Eleven are the stars that Joseph saw.
Only saw. You can鈥檛 touch a star and
they see everything you do.

Who knows ten?
I know ten.

Ten are the commandments.
The famous ones, anyway.
There are six hundred and three more.
Most of them we don鈥檛 bother with
any more.

Who knows nine?
I know nine.

Nine is the number of months
it takes for your life to change forever.
For most people, that鈥檚 a good thing.

Who knows eight?
I know eight.

I know eight. Eight shows up all the time.
Nights of Passover. Nights of Chanukah.
Days of Sukkot (depending on where you live.)
Days between when your life changes forever
and when you hand the source of your change
over to the mohel and hope for the best.

Who knows seven?
I know seven.

Seven are the lamps in Israel鈥檚 Menorah.
When we see it, it鈥檚 like putting a sweater on our hearts.
When others see it, they imagine it at the bottom of the sea
forever invisible to human eyes.

Who knows six?
I know six.

Six is the number of days it took to make the world.
So what do we do on the seventh day of the week?
Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Who knows five?
I know five.

Five are the books in the Torah.
(Back when books were scrolls.
They hadn鈥檛 invented the concept
of the page-turner yet.)
I keep reading them so you don鈥檛 have to.
That鈥檚 not true.
You have to.

Who knows four?
I know four.

Four are my grandparents.
Each of whom had four grandparents.
Each of whom had four grandparents.
All the way back to the first four mothers.
I never met any of them. But this chain
is why I write these words.

Who knows three?
I know three.

Three are their husbands.
The numbers don鈥檛 work out with
our modern sensibility.
But they all spoke with the One.
Everyone wants their autographs.

Who knows two?
I know two.

Two are the tablets.
Two are the homes of those of us who live
outside the promised land.
Two are the eyes we use in our
forever search for the One.

Who knows one?
I know one.

One is the one who sent us to the place
I don鈥檛 know if They considered what would happen
once we got there.


Rick Lupert, a poet, songleader and graphic designer, is the author of 27 books including 鈥淕od Wrestler: A Poem for Every Torah Portion.鈥 Find him online at

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