Stephen Billias & Marek Halter

There are other stories, fiction and non-fiction, that discuss or mention stories of The 36. It is important to see the important that the stories of the Lamed Vavnickim have today. Just as the legends of Rebbe Nachman or the Baal Shem Tov were vital to teach those communities, pop culture and literature remain important today. A quick Google search begins any research project today and I want to briefly mention three pieces that I have some knowledge of:


  1. Playing off the Holocaust references from “The Last of the Just,” Marek Halter wrote “Stories of Deliverance.” Similarly to Andre Schwartz-Bart, Halter also survived that era and his writing was greatly impacted by the pain. Admittedly, I have not read all of the stories but many discuss the concept of the Just, he referring many times to the individuals who saved Jews during the Holocaust.
  2. “The Quest for the 36” is fictional as the tagline reads “It’s the talent search of the millennium- if they’re not found, there’ll be hell to pay.” In chapter 7 is about a rabbi and his belief in the 36. The book continues with one man’s search/chase for the 36.
  3. Finally in the Coen Brothers film, A Serious Man, the rabbi mentions the 36 in a eulogy. I am only bringing this in because coincidentally, I happen to be the Senior Rabbi at the synagogue in which part of the film takes place. I currently hold one of the offices of the rabbis in the film.