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“‘Tzedek, tzedek you shall pursue!” Meaning: that which was wronged should be righted, that which was stolen should be returned to its owner, the innocent should not suffer, and those who have caused harm shall be corrected so that they will return to doing good. Tzedek is making everything the way it should be.”

-Chabad Organization

They live among us, they look like us, they are humans but they are above the humans with their humanity. They always do what is right and never forget to stand up against wrong. Tzazddikim, the righteous people, the balance of the world.The legend of the 36 of them, hidden guardians.

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What is the secret legend of the Thirty Six of Righteous who do good and fight against bad? It comes from the Jewish religion and it is always summarized in very simple fact:Those who save this world. Actually, the holy book of Jews, Talmud ( Succah 45b) claims that every generation has about 72 holy people, who are directly responsible to guard the world. The 36 are located in Israel and the rest of 36 are outside the Israel:“The world never has less than thirty-six righteous men who receive the Divine Presence every day, for it is said, ‘Happy are they that wait lo [for Him]’ and the numerical value of ‘lo’ is thirty-six.” The number 36 has a specific meaning because it is linked to the 6 days of creation, and the 30 days of the average month.The Hanukkah has also 36 candles. In other words, the 36 is very sacred combination for Jewish people.


In the age of failed  spiritual values, lost ethic, abused religion and cheap trade of the souls for the primitive goals, the idea about hidden protectors whose humanity leads us forwards and keep us present in God’s eyes, seems like a fairy tale. This is a wonderful Hasidic legend, colored with an ancient Jewish mysticism that states that every period of history has a group of unknown righteous men who walk on the Earth, do good deeds and do not let the wind of evil to turn the gardens of humanity into the desert of monsters. We can not recognize them and they even do not know they are  Lamed-Vavnik, Tzadikim Nistarim, the righteous legion.  They are always critical oriented to the human race but their pure and divine hearts enable the shield to be around this world, against the God’s anger. It is said, it will not be a doomsday until there are Thirty Six Tzaddikim Nistarim.


The affinity of Jews for the deep wisdom and spiritual philosophy, based on religious rules, make them opened for the mysticism that came up with the legend of the Thirty Six Hidden Righteous People. They are somewhere around us, brave and intelligent, compassionate and humble. Even if they know they belong to Tzaddikim, they would deny it but God knows and the world must never give up to search for them. Anyone could be Tzaddikim but not everyone is Tzaddikim, only those of 36, chosen to be guardians. This is their legend, legend of the guardians. They are not angels because they live and die like anyone else. They are ordinary people, marked by extraordinary heart and soul, kissed by God’s trust and shaped with adoration for humanity. It is stated that at the moment when one tzaddik dies, the next one must be found , to take the role. This is so inspiring for all people, to develop their inner beauty and worthy character because the star of Tzaddikim could be given to everyone everywhere everytime.

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The greed human beings are ready to be killed for money but they are not ready to sacrifice themselves  for  the deepest intellectual and moral values. The kindness is the highest goal of Tzaddikim but it seems that the modern civilization doesn’t have time for it. It is all about the interest, the world is about takers not about givers:“First, we should all strive to be kind to all whom we meet, particularly the least among us, for one never knows if you may not be offering kindness to one of the very 36 on whom the survival of the world depends.Secondly, each person should strive at all times to conduct himself or herself with honesty and charity according to God’s law, for who knows if you or I might not be one on whom the world depends?And finally, the legend suggests a reminder call to humility for all people, because it is not by my own cleverness, power, wit or wealth that the community depends, but on those who are morally more sincere than I.”


This is not the easy challenge for the mankind. Actually, it is very demanding, even to think about the efforts to work towards the encouragement of Tzaddikim atmosphere. But, the power of them is irresistible.They were born as imperfect but throughout the life, as concealed, they strive to become perfect, to find that true connection with God and to  enhance that purity within themselves, the essential divine which is given from God as a reminder that they do not need corporal satisfactions as they need the moral  satisfactions of the souls. That is the power of Tzaddikim. When it is there, the misfortune and disasters of this world is gone but when their power is not accumulated in number 36, the evil is coming. They are almost like a foundation of the world, without them, everything is falling apart.


I found very exciting the fact that the some of Hasidic philosophers believe that there are two categories  of saints: those who are visible and those who are hidden. The second one are more important because they consolidate the misery and hopes of the whole world within their humble and sensible hearts but sometimes their facade could send the another message. They could look like the members of the gang, outlaw, forgotten and voiceless, but their mission is above all we can imagine. This should stop us to be quick in judgement because only God knows what is in the human hearts but not the humans themselves.


Some Tzaddikim have been discovered during the past times. They were spiritual leaders, like  Moses, the first Rebbe of the Jewish people. Then, the next  Rebbe and famous Tzaddik  was  Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi, the redactor of the Mishnah.Those people were connection between God and his children. But, there are some Tzaddikim that have not been born and lived as great spiritual examples but at some point of life, they turned to their holy nature and become the followers of the light. That is the answer on the prayers, everyone can be God’s beloved child and chosen, it must be only a pure heart under the coat and strong will to condemn Azazel’s games.


The novelist Sam Bourne published in 2006 the book “The Righteous men”, leading the readers inside the jewish mystic tale about the Tzaddikim. That was just the beginning of the world’s interest in hidden guardians. They could be someone you have known and hurt or someone you meet everyday but you are not impressed. That could be someone you will cross your path with and never think about The Legend of Thirty Six. They live their lives in the shadows of our egocentric daily routines. They keep the evil away while we think that God owes us something. The righteous in the wrong times but for the right causes.

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  1. Wow! This is beautiful, Sarah! Both your writing, and the story itself!

    What a moral lesson for all of us to know that we might be walking next to or interacting with a Tzaddik without even realizing it!

    To me, a culminating point in your article, Sarah, is when you quoted the the novelist Sam Bourne who published in 2006 the book “The Righteous men”,

    “They could be someone you have known and hurt or someone you meet everyday but you are not impressed. That could be someone you will cross your path with and never think about The Legend of Thirty Six. ”

    The striking statement is “They could be someone you have known and hurt”, as people hurt one another on a daily basis because of greed, selfishness, and hunger for power. In other words, people may be hurting a Tzaddik!

    One of the quotes on your appended pictures, herein, is “To be kind is more important than to be right” ” Many times, what people need is NOT a brilliant mind that speaks but a SPECIAL HEART that listens “!

    The lesson for everyone to take from your article is to be KIND ! To be kind to humans and animals alike, for animals are not our subordinate!

    Thank you for this wonderful article, Sarah ! Aso for your writing style, it simply is mesmerizing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Arguably, we could exclaim that the Hebrew-Jewish tradition of the 36 derives from something non-Biblical: both the Torah and The Old Testament were not written in ancient-Hebraic, but in other idioms (e.g. Greek and Persian), originally. The Hebrew-Jews were exiled to Babylonia, and it is was there that the ancient Judaic writings emerged in tangible form, in progenitor orientations. The majority of Biblical scholars believe that the written books were a product of the Babylonian captivity (c. 600 BCE), based on earlier written and oral traditions, which could only have arisen from separate communities within ancient Judaea/Israel, and that it was completed by the period of Achaemenid rule (c. 400 BCE). The Indus Valley civilization reached its peak around 2500–2000 BCE.

    As an Atheist, I am obliged to put forward factual evidence, in mysticism of religions. Not to offend Monotheists and pagans, but to furnish information on the very probable origins of their human-borne histories.

    In Shaivism, the 36 tattvas describe the supposed ‘Absolute’, its internal aspects and the creation including living beings, down to the physical reality. In Kashmir Shaivism, the 36 tattvas are the 36 elements or principles of reality. They describe, in descending order, the Absolute and its internal aspects; the covering of the Absolute by Maya; all of creation, including living beings, and the workings of the mind and physical reality. Tattvas divide into three groups: Shudda tattvas (pure internal aspects of the Absolute), Shuddhashuddha tattvas (the pure/impure soul and its limitations) and Ashuddha tattvas (impure material, sensory organs of action, the mind and the ego).

    Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1986) was an Indian philosopher, speaker and writer. In his early life he was groomed to be the New World Teacher, but later rejected this mantle and withdrew from the Theosophy organization behind it. His subject matter included psychological revolution, the nature of mind, meditation, inquiry, human relationships, and bringing about radical change in society. He stressed the need for a revolution in the psyche of every human being and emphasised that such a revolution cannot be brought about by any external entity, be it religious, political or social.

    As an Atheist and someone who believes that the ego is a major problem for Homo sapiens (myself included), the 36 is each and every individual human being. We are born with primordial aspects and are challenged to refine ourselves through experiences with other and with Nature…


  3. An excellent article Sarah! I always enjoy reading your articles. You have a gift for discussing the unknowns.
    Regardless of whether it is a fairy tale or the story of God, the story is packed with ethical values. It is a lesson and guidance for all mankind to follow regardless of their belief.
    Thank you, Sarah, from the bottom of my heart.


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    I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m definitely glad I found it and I’ll be
    bookmarking and checking back frequently!


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About Sarahowlgirl1982

I am a master of Political Sciences, with special focus on Security Studies, Islamic Counter Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction. I enjoy discovering and commenting things which are " in the air" but still not spoken.I also do like science writing and planing to move myself into the pure science journalism !