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Kabbalah/the fate/ destiny of the 36 lamed vavs


Dear Rav Waxman,
Can you please give me sources concerning the fate and destiny of these 36 Lamed-Vavnikim, during this lifetime, and the world to come.
Not simply where they are discussed in the Jewish Literature, but the sources inside concerning Their Personal Fate and Destiny. What is to become of them , During this life, And 'After', v'chulu.
Thank you for your time.
simcha tzvi

Dear Maurice,

According to the Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 97b, Sukkot 45b: "There are not less than 36 Lamed–Vavniks [lamed-vav] righteous persons in the world who receive the Divine Presence."

Later teachings describe these “hidden tzadikim” as very humble, ordinary, normal appearing people.  Yet the existence of the world depends on their quiet and unassuming faith and righteousness.  There are many folk tales which describe some kind of great danger that faced a community, and one of these lamed vavniks quietly appeared, took care of things, and once again faded into obscurity.

The teaching is that we never know who these people are in their own day, but I suspect we can identify some with hindsight: Moses, Buddha, Hillel, Jesus, Rumi, Krishna, Lao-Tzu, Confucius, etc. In the present day, the Dali Lama could join this club.

The letters of the Hebrew aleph-bet double as numbers.  Lamed is the number 30, vav is the number 6. The idea is that there are always 36 people—Lamed–Vavniks—on the planet whose capacity for grace, generosity, compassion, and justice are so strong as to prevent humanity from imploding under the weight if our own idiocy.

The Hebrew word for life is chai, and carries the numerical value of 18. Lamed–Vavniks carry their lives and the lives of the planet—twice 18, or 36.

So, what is their fate? They either continue to incarnate as "volunteers" (Bodisattvas) to guide humanity, or they move on to higher levels of existence.

Thank you for your question.

With best wishes,

Bob Waxman  


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Robert Waxman, Ph.D.


Please ask any questions that are relevant to Kabbalah or Jewish mysticism. Other topics to inquire about include: science and Kabbalah, parallel universes, reincarnation, after-death states, cosmology, numerology (gematria), hidden meanings of the Bible, the eternal validity of the soul, Plato, and Kabbalah, Vedanta and Kabbalah, and the meaning of life according to Kabbalah.


Author of "Kabbalah Simply Stated" published by Paragon House Publishers and distributed in 12 countries. Other books: "2012: The Meaning and The Message", "Seven Fundamental Propositions of Esoteric Philosphy" and "The Power of AWE!". Studied Kabbalah with Rabbi Azriel Abraham of Jerusalem from 1985 - 1998 and have been teaching Kabbalah and other subjects since 1998. Classes include: Kabbalah According To The Scholars, (Scholem, Kaplan, Tishby & Idel), Comparative Spirituality, Latest Research on the Near Death Experience (NDE), Spirtually Transformative Experiences & Cognitive Dissonance, Common Threads of Wisdom in Religion, Science, and Consciousness Studies. Thousands have attended these classes over the years. Additionally, on-going classes are given all year round along with guest speaking presentations at a wide variety of religious and philosophical organizations.

Founding Member and guest speaker at The Open Center in Sarasota, FL. International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS) Longboat Key Education Center Unity Life Enrichment Center American Seminar Leader's Association

(3) Books, many original articles that can be found on the internet (ezine, netterweb, searchwarp, etc.) "Beyond Madonna - Kabbalah according to the Great Scholars" and "Beyond The Da Vinci Code".

Ph.D. from Saybrook University; Master's Degree from Skidmore College with a concentration in Comparative Religion; (2) B.A.'s from The American University. Additional courses in Philosophy at Columbia University.

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Many certificates of appreciation and recognition from various organizations.

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