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Literally, 36 righteous men. The “secret saints” for whose sake the world survives. These secret saints are the center of many stories and mystic legends, all of them based on the saying in the Talmud by Abbaye that there are at least 36 righteous men in every generation. They are so pious and modest that they hide their learning and earn their bread by physical labor. According to this legend, before one of the Lamed Vav dies, another is born, and so the sinful world is saved from destruction.

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