When writing about Rabbeinu Chananel, I briefly mentioned the Yad Ramah referring to the disagreement of when the Lamed Vavnickim existed. The Yad Ramah was commentary on four different tractates of the Talmud written by Meir ben Todros HaLevi Abulafia. Meir Abulafia lived in Spain during the 12th/13th centuries. He might best be known for disagreeing with the Maimonides about the resurrection of the dead.
While he does not contribute a great deal to this conversation, his obsession with the dead is worth noting. He famously penned a letter to his father and in the name of his sister when she passed away.
Meir Abulafia writes, “That is, in every generation in this world there are no less than thirty-six people who are so righteous that they will merit to perceive the Schechinah when they enter the World to Come.” Paired with his previously noted comments and focus on death, his insight into the 36 leads us to two questions; first how many righteous individuals are there and second what do they merit? According to Meir Abulafia these thirty-six people merit a special relationship with God after their death. Up until now, we have only known the righteous to be active in this world. It is not surprising that Meir Abulafia would suggest there is a connection to the World to Come. He seems from the debates he engages and the letter he wrote, that he lives constantly in the pain of the loss of his sister. It is interesting to note that this major rabbinic mind stretches the attributes of the righteous to continue post death.