The 36...

I watch a television series called "Touch" which brought up the idea of the Tzadikim Nistarium, the hidden righteous ones. According to mystical Judaism, there are not less than 36 righteous persons in the world who receive the divine presence. These 36 are unaware of who they are and one may even be the Messiah. This concept is touched on in this television series.

I am fascinated by elements of spirituality and faith. I grew up in the Quaker faith, which I believe has given me an openness to listen and watch things around me. The first time I heard of the 36 righteous ones, I was curious. What could that mean? I think of how people touch one others lives and make deep connections. How our large world is really very small and how we are all connected. Is this related to the 36?

When I was growing up, I went to youth group almost every Wednesday. It was a special time I got to spend with my grandparents, but also an opportunity to learn. I feel I learned a great deal about questioning and owning one's beliefs during that time, although as an adult some of those I felt were most instrumental in my youth, I see now, have very narrow beliefs on what they think is acceptable.

For many years I have looked at the belief systems around the world and felt strongly that the being we call "God" is likely the same God that is looked to in other faiths outside of Christianity. I think that faith is deeply impacted by culture and I find some level of comfort that there can be an openness in belief. I understand that not everyone agrees with me. As a matter of fact, I know that some will vehemently disagree, but I am okay with that. I seek to find truth, wherever it may be. I don't know if I can call myself a Christian, per se, but rather someone who is spiritual and seeking. I look to a variety of places and am open to many different discussions. Faith and spirituality are very personal.

I like the idea of the 36 righteous ones. When researching I found that the belief is that if there are a minimum of 36 righteous ones that God will continue to save the world. I am not sure what that means, but I am sure there are times when there have been far less than 36, but I also think there are times when there have been far more. Maybe Oprah is one of the 36 or maybe one of my co-workers whose kind heart blesses many. I don't know, but it seems that we should be open to the idea that anyone can have a major impact on the world.

Kindness is something that should be considered a necessity, rather than a luxury. Manners and respect key virtues to be taught to our children. Being part of the school system, I see that less and less of these two are taught to our current generation and I wonder if that will eventually impact our world. Will this upcoming generation sacrifice for others, will they be willing to give of themselves? I don't know and I wonder.

We should all live our life as if we might encounter one of these 36 righteous ones and that merely being in their presence will rain down blessings on us. Whether you are a spiritual person, agnostic, or atheist, the thought that your actions could profoundly impact others should be considered. Maybe you meet one of these righteous ones and your kindness moves their hearts. The thread between us all is strong and your kindness may vibrate along this thread and move others along the path. Maybe there is a part of us all that is one of the 36, I don't know.

I am sure of this...Jewish mysticism is one belief, the belief in God as a divine deity another, but kindness and compassion can be found in all belief systems (or lack thereof) and the more we can practice these, the greater our world would be. Regardless of where you land along the spirituality scale, taking up the torch to impact others in a positive way can only change our world for the better and shouldn't that be something we can all believe in?

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