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Friday, September 25, 2009

One of the Lamed-Vavnikim*

There is a mystical Chassidic tradition that there are always present in every generation 36* righteous, humble Jews, "whose role in life is solely to justify the purpose of mankind in the eyes of G-d." They are necessary to sustain the world.

Even if the world descends into barbarism (in which path it often seems to be going these days), as long as these 36 righteous Jews exist, G-d will not destroy the world. Each one of these Tzaddikim is unbeknownst to the other, and if only one of them was missing, the world would end. They are also known as the "Tzaddikim Nistarim," the 'hidden righteous ones.

Because no one knows who they are, and because if someone 'declares' himself to be one of them we know it isn't he, each one of us should strive to be like one of them; we should, humbly, do good and show great kindness to every Jew, no matter if he is different than you.

I saw this video and had tears in my eyes, and thought it was appropriate before Yom Kippur...

(This is why I thank G-d every minute of every day that I was born a Jew. What a people we are! I am honored to be a member of this tribe...)

One of the Thirty Six - Rabbi Aryeh Levin

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*Lamed Vavnikim: the Hebrew letters 'lamed' and 'vav' equal 30 and 6, respectively. The 36 righteous Jews are referred to also as the 'lamed-vavnikim,' or the 'thirty-six.'

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