This comes from a very moving article by David Horovitz, in memory of his daughter, Sarah.
In Jewish lore there is a legend of the lamed vovniks, the thirty-six just men on whom the existence of the world depends (Sarah would have had something to say about the gender prejudice of that). According to the legend, God had become so disgusted with his creation that he was determined to destroy it. But an angel came to plead with Him and to ask for a reprieve if she could find thirty-six just men in the world. In every generation, so the legend goes, there are always thirty-six just men – the lamed vovniks on whom its continued survival depends. The lamed vovniks are not conscious of who they are. They perform their acts of compassion and love out of the purity of their hearts. And the rest of us owe the world to them.