Anonymity rarely exists now, right? We live in a world of social-media infamy and soundbites. The flashier, the louder, the more pretentious—the better.

In this day and age, it’s important to “be outHow does it feel to be a tzadik? there”—to be recognized. Remember: The more comments, the more “Likes,” the more “traffic” to your site. People want to shine, often in a public way. Most people want to be admired; it’s natural! But in this generation, it has become a preoccupation.

Countering this phenomenon is a concept within our tradition. We are taught that in every generation, there are 36 righteous individuals, or tzaddikim. These extraordinary lights are innately humble and essentially nameless; nevertheless, they preserve and nurture the entire universe through their quiet acts and inner light.

Tzaddikim, the righteous, do the right thing. They base their choices and decisions on an inner knowingness that has nothing to do with societal barometers of success and happiness. Recognition is not the goal, but doing G‑d’s will is.

The month of Kislev, in which Chanukah resides, can be divided into two parts: Kes, or “hidden,” and the letters lamed vav, which have the numerical equivalent of 36 (“36 hidden lights”). That’s right! On Chanukah, as we light 36 candles (1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8=36), we reveal and gain access to the same light that emanates from the hidden tzaddikim. Those remarkable 36 who walk the earth always knowing the right thing to do, despite the pressure, despite the noise.

During this holiday, we have the special opportunity to view life from a higher perspective. We can work into our existence a level of elevation that can be difficult to rise to otherwise. We can be driven by what is compassionate, generous, joyful, and good, like the tzadik.

But how does it feel to be a tzadik?

Well, If we give from the heart, with no ulterior motives, with no expectation, the tzadik has made an entrance. If we stay humble, when it could be so easy to be arrogant, that inner tzadik is “in the house.” When we see the good in everyone—even those different than ourselves, even those who may have hurt us in the past—our generosity of spirit shines, and so does our inner tzadik.

Let us say, we’re in a room, and gossip is wafting through the air. No one wants to hear it. But we voice the problem, maybe leave the situation. What about when we quietly spin kindness at every opportunity, but without pomp?

Then we understand; inner tzadik has arrived.

Righteous people know who they are and areRighteous people know who they are and are satisfied with their lot satisfied with their lot. They measure themselves by the G‑dly perimeters of whether they are fulfilling their unique destiny and bringing light to the world. They could be the school janitor or the person who serves up hot meals in the soup kitchen. They are probably not on Facebook counting their “Likes.” That doesn’t matter to them. Because they have innate self-worth, there is no need for outside admiration. Yes, when your self-worth emerges, so can the inner tzadik.

Lighting the 36 Chanukah candles is an incredible opportunity. The hidden light possessed by the 36 righteous among us is available to all during Chanukah. At a time where projecting your “outer light” has become of paramount importance, the masters of “inner light” knock on our door.

When the revelation of the hidden light of tzaddikim and the tzaddik is within us all, it will bring us to the time when this explosion of light will be revealed to the entire world. And what a world it will be.

Let the illumination begin now ... on Chanukah.