Who knows thirty-six?

Please cite/link your sources, if possible. After about one business day, I will:

  • Upvote all interesting answers.

  • Accept the best answer.

  • Go on to the next number.


12 Answers 12


36 are each generation's "special righteous people."

Sanhedrin 97b: "Said Abayey, in any given generation, the world never has less than 36 righteous who receive the Divine presence ... with a clear perception."

Interestingly, if you flip back one page and check Rashi (Sanhedrin 96b), he quotes from Chulin 92a: "There are 45 righteous people in whose merit the world is upheld."

Assuming the 36 are a subset of the 45, that means there are nine righteous people who don't perceive the Divine presence, yet their merit is needed to sustain the world. I wonder what those people are like.

In Hassidic lore there are 36 hidden righteous people ("lamed-vav tzadikim nistarim", or just "lamed-vavniks"). Does anyone know the first written source of this? I assume it's connected to the above Gemara.

I heard there's some organization in Israel that awards people with the "lamed-vavnik hidden righteous person medal." Don't ask me how that one works.

  • 1
    must be a secret ballot and also secret award
    – Jeremy
    Commented May 12, 2010 at 17:37
  • 1
    Checkmark for ... I'm not telling.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented May 13, 2010 at 16:00
  • 1
    "checkmark" in anticipation of #45 ;)
    – Yirmeyahu
    Commented May 14, 2010 at 3:31
  • Thirty six righteous can be found in Succah 45b or Sanhedrin 97b. I hope this helps. Commented Jun 16, 2019 at 7:17

36 hair follicles (a square, 6 x 6) is the minimum size for a tzaraas spot to have any halachic significance (Mishnah, Negaim 6:1).


36 months between leap-months (in most cases).

  • 1
    and similar, but unrelated: 37 months in the standard triennial cycle. (just in case I forget by tomorrow)
    – Jeremy
    Commented May 12, 2010 at 16:10

36 are the days it took Moshe to explain the Torah (in Eiver HaYardein) (Alef Shevat until Vav Adar)

Seder Olam Rabbah, Perek 10



36 is the gematria of chay'im.

  • I think you mean either 68 or chayayim.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented May 12, 2010 at 16:30
  • wouldn't chayayim be 46? (chet-yud-hay)*2
    – Jeremy
    Commented May 12, 2010 at 16:49
  • 3
    I think he meant two "chais" = 2 x 18. Just because "chai" x 2 = "chaim", doesn't mean Gematria("chai") x 2 = Gematria("chaim")
    – Shalom
    Commented May 12, 2010 at 16:49
  • Shalom's gotta be right. That is exactly what I thought he meant in the first place.
    – Yahu
    Commented May 12, 2010 at 17:19
  • Yes, that's what I meant, but with a nice mix of functional form and English punctuation to make the point.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented May 12, 2010 at 18:19

The gemora in Sotah 13a says that 36 crowns were hung on the coffin of Ya’akov by the kings of various nations.


36 = the total number of cases where capital punishment would be enforced.

Stoning (skilah) - 18

(Rambam, Hilchos Sanhedrin 15:10)

  • 1) a person who engages in relations with his mother
  • 2) with his father's wife
  • 3) his daughter-in-law
  • 4) a maiden who was consecrated
  • 5) a man involved in homosexual relations
  • 6) a man who sodomizes an animal
  • 7) a woman who has relations with an animal
  • 8) a blasphemer
  • 9) an idolater
  • 10) a person who gives his descendants to Molech
  • 11) a person who divines with an ov
  • 12) a person who divines with an yidoni
  • 13) a person who entices others to worship idols
  • 14) the people who lead a city to idol worship
  • 15) a sorcerer
  • 16) a person who desecrates the Sabbath
  • 17) a person who curses his father or his mother
  • 18) a wayward and rebellious son.

Burning (sreifah) (10)

(ibid, 15:11)

  • 1) a priest's daughter who commits adultery
  • 2) a person who has relations with his daughter
  • 3) with his daughter's daughter
  • 4) with his son's daughter
  • 5) with his wife's daughter
  • 6) with the daughter of his wife's daughter
  • 7) with the daughter of his wife's son
  • 8) with his mother-in-law
  • 9) with the mother of his mother-in-law
  • 10) with the mother of his father-in-law

Sword (hereg) - 2

(ibid, 15:12)

  • 1) murderer
  • 2) the inhabitants of a city enticed to idolatry

Strangulation (chenek) - 6

(ibid, 15:13)

  • 1) an adulterer
  • 2) a person who wounds his father or mother
  • 3) a person who kidnaps a fellow Jew
  • 4) a rebellious elder
  • 5) a false prophet
  • 6) a person who prophecies in the name of a false deity

36 full Tractates that have Gemarah on them.


  • 2
    Plus half of Tamid.
    – Alex
    Commented May 13, 2010 at 19:32

36 is the number of hours that Adam HaRishon was exposed to the light of creation which was hidden away (or haganuz) - 12 hours from the time he was created at noon of Friday until he sinned right before Shabbos, and 24 hours of Shabbos. (Rabbeinu Yehuda Ben Yakar on Ata Chonantanu).


36 is the number of candles an individual lights on Chanuka (excluding the shammos), which of course corresponds to the hours which Adam HaRishon experienced the Or Haganuz


36 chiyuvei kares (dont remember where the gemara is)

  • It's the first Mishna in the aptly named "kereitot"
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 16, 2019 at 3:54
  • thanks can you edit it in because i dont know how to put in hebrew lines
    – Asher
    Commented Jun 16, 2019 at 3:58

Asa ruled for forty one years. In his days the land was quiet for ten years. In the fifteenth year of Asa's reign, Zerach the Kushite came and returned to Asa all the booty that Shishak the king of Egypt had taken from Jerusalem, and Asa took it. This was the thirty-fifth year since the death of Shelomo, and God raised up an adversary to Israel, Rezon the son of Eliyada… What is the meaning of "of Asa"? This corresponds to the thirty-six years during which Shelomo was married to the daughter of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and it corresponds to the thirty-six years that were decreed against the kingdom of the house of David that it be divided, and that in the end will be returned to them… Therefore it is stated: "In the sixth and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa." In the sixteenth year of Asa, after Zerach the Kushite fell into his hands, it being the thirty-sixth year since the death of Shelomo, God raised up an adversary to him, Rezon the son of Eliyada (I Melakhim 16). At that same time the king of Israel and the king of Aram made a pact to go up and provoke Asa, and Asa sinned, and brought out silver and gold… a pact between me and you… and Ben Hadad heard… and at that time Chanani came… And the kings of Aram didn't stop being adversaries of Israel…. (Seder Olam Rabba, 16)

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