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Who Are the 36 Hidden Tzadikim?

Who Are the 36 Hidden Tzadikim?



Who or what are the 36 holy people? I get the gist of such people being alive at one time, but are they still around? What is their purpose? Is it all a mystery?


Our holy books say that every generation actually has a minimum (there may be more) of 72 holy men, 36 who live in Israel, and 36 who live outside of Israel.

The number 36 corresponds to the 6 days of creation, and the 30 days of an average month. It also corresponds to the 36 candles kindled during Hanukkah.

The primary source for this teaching is in the Talmud, Succah 45b:

"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."

In merit of these righteous individuals, our world receives the divine vitality that keeps it going. We do not know for sure, however, the identity of all these extraordinary individuals.

The 36 hidden tzadikim, also known as the Lamed Vovniks, are discussed by the Tikunei Zohar (50b), Sfat Emet, Meor V'Shemesh and others. The Meor V'Shemesh explains that the number 72 corresponds to the 70 Elders, plus Moses and Aaron. The Sfat Emet mentions the relationship with the Chanukah candles in his discussion of Chanukah.
All names of persons and locations or other identifying features referenced in these questions have been omitted or changed to preserve the anonymity of the questioners.
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Discussion (17)
August 15, 2016
Thanks to each of these men, G-d's plan has continued till today, so each one of us has a job to do in life.
Trani / Italy
December 22, 2015
May 13, 2015
The reason that they are hidden is, in part, to test other Jews. They are hidden early in their life from themselves, and they are almost, if not always, hidden from most others for their entire life. And yes apparently there are many, many more than 36 or even 72.

It would be nice to meet one someday but I suppose that might take 14 years, or maybe 3?
March 13, 2015
The 36? there are so many more.
September 4, 2013
Do they have to be men?
Can there be righteous women?
Judy in Atlanta
Georgia, USA
May 15, 2013
36 tzadikim
Is their knowledge to identify someone or something?
June 2, 2011
Do they know that they are tzadikim?
Bklyn, NY
February 3, 2010
Nice article, but you missed one very important aspect of 36...

36 is a square, of 6 x 6 .

6 is the number of points to the Magen David, which is a mystical symbol, the details of which we don't have space to discuss here.

Also, 36 is 2 x 18, 18 is Chai, or life, thus the 36 maintain life, life above, and life below as in the Aleph, two yuds separated by one vav, a yud above, and a yud below, one for G-d, and one for man, separated by the kabbalists "screen", the vav....

You see, there is soooo much more going on here that you missed entirely.
February 3, 2010
I understand your reference, but to search within yourself for a "hidden Tzadik", who is a member of the 36 is very vein, and self-centered.

This is the direct opposite of what a "Hidden Tzadik" would do.
June 22, 2009
36 Hidden Tzadikim
Perhaps the point of the Tzadikim being hidden is to encourage you to look for at least one of them within yourself.
Ocala, FL