Importance of Tikkun olam

The Hebrew phrase tikkun olam (pronounced tee-KOON oh-LUHM) means “world repair.” In modern Jewish circles, tikkun olam has become synonymous with the notion of social action and the pursuit of social justice.
Created in the image of God each human being is requested to come close to the Bo’re and to be a partaker of a marvellous peaceful world to which each member has to contribute out of free will. In order for the balance between good and evil intended by God to be restored, humans must be involved in the world’s reparation and can not keep aside or aloof or ‘do nothing’ to get social justice or a better world.

Perhaps you may find that suddenly there have been presented several articles on one and the same subject. The good reason for this is because it is of such importance for us and for mankind.

Those who are called by the Most High Elohim and love to come near to Him should not only listen to His Kol or Voice but when they love Him should show that love by the willingness to please Him.

Such pleasing of God can only be done by doing that what the Elohim expects from His people. From the onset of the creation the Bo’re had a Plan and still wants that Plan to be fulfilled. He wants to see His creatures to live in peace with each other in a marvellous world where there is no sitna, eivah or  hate, no violence, no vile, but only inhabitants which or who share the same respect for the wonders of  the Bo’re.

Those who He created in His image should be a resemblance of His love for them. They should not only do their best to live life in a way that they are aware of what they do, but should wonder what their Creator expects from them. Also they should know that they should be in control of themselves and should not try to chase things that are outside of their control or which would be against the Wishes of the Most High.

The world shall have to recognise there has to be a God-centred worldview. In that worldview the elohim should stand in the first place and man may come as a servant to this God, Who is One (and not two or three or more, like in many other religions). The Divine Maker of the world has given His Word to come to the Truth and expects mankind to follow His Words.

Big problem is that already in the early days of mankind everything went wrong by man disputing the tokef HaElohim (or the authority of God). That rebellion against God made that we are still sitting with a broken relationship which has to be restored. That restoration should be one of our main concerns. Therefore we should know that all people who love God and want to be a child of God or who want to belong to His people should not only see that there is the point of Judaism, being tasked with a great mission, but all those who want to be partakers of God’s Kingdom having also that task to bring the world to a restored condition.

Going for God demands a religiousness and demands us to come out into the world showing to Whom we belong and to take action. The religiosity should be one with internal fire and not one of an automatic pilot. In many religious groups we can find people who are in a routine or a groove also keeping to the many traditions of their community. As long as they stay in that routine and in the traditions of man they feel happy plus feel safe and secure in their religiousness.

The service for God demands more than just such a human standard of man prescribed religiosity that many practice. For the outside world they may look like religious people and be thought of as performing well; but there is no spirit, no life and no fruit. And that is not what the Most High Elohim is looking for.

God’s manna is a living tasty food which should be shared by many as the most precious thing we can share. All those Words of God we do have in our days are here to stay but also here to help others. And we should use those words to help others. God gave the world many prophets to proclaim His word and to show the world what God wants from them.

In this world where there are so many blind people walking and guiding the other blind ones, we should open our eyes and take measures to show the world how those who do not want to see nor hear God His Word, are trying to mislead the world and wants them to bring away from the Only One True God, by presenting them a god man or god son, or a multitude of false gods and idols.

Some Jews may say or think that there is still unity in their people or haverim kol yisrael (all Israel is still joined in fellowship) — despite all the dispersion, dichotomies and politicization that history has visited upon the Jews. They should have remained united in a tenacious pilgrimage of universal import, but the many differences brought also some tribulations with it.

We all have to recognise that we are far from the harmonious state for which our world was created. In order for the balance between good and evil intended by the Most High Elohim to be restored, human beings must be involved in the world’s reparation and should try to do their utmost best to have around them a righteous world.

In the 1950s, the phrase tikkun olam was used by Shlomo Bardin, the founder of the Brandeis Camp Institute (BCI). To Bardin, the phrase “l’taken olam b’malchut shaddai,” encapsulated the essence of Jewish values. The term, meaning “when the world shall be perfected under the reign of the Almighty,” is found in the liturgical prayer “Aleinu” where in that prayer can be found the meaning “it is upon us or it is our obligation or duty to praise God”. Such praise is only possible when we behave like God wants it (keeping His mitzvot) and when we show the world our love for Him and His creation. Our awareness of the ‘defective world’ where there has not yet been found one good political system should bring us to work at that system and to strive for a better world. Bardin taught that Jews are obligated to work towards achieving a more perfect world.

Since the 1950s, other Jewish movements have adopted the use of the phrase and concept tikkun olam as a platform for the fulfilment of mitzvot (commandments) and tzedakah (justice, righteousness). That is the reason why Jews are often involved in social action/volunteer projects, motivated by the concept of tikkun olam.

Each of us has to be aware that he or she has to take his responsibility opposite the others around him or her. Each person has a hand in working towards the betterment of his or her own existence as well as the lives of future generations. Too many people do not think of those coming after them, but lovers of God should prepare the way for those coming after them.

We can not ignore the importance of the participation in trying to make the world a better space than it is at the moment. We should make an effort in repairing the world by participating in tzedakah (justice and righteousness) and g’milut hasadim (acts of loving kindness). Without our effort or stake in the improvement of the environment, injustice and evil will continue to exist.

We should consider tikkun olam as our set-apart task, making others to see we belong to God and showing our willingness to work for Him here on earth. Increasing the well-being of humankind is one of the key elements of repairing the world. Therefore we should have an eye for the needs of this world and see what goes wrong around us. Even when it demands a voice on political level we should let our voice sound to protect those who have no voice.

Helping those who are in need, no matter in what capacity, is crucial and “set-apart” or “holy” work. Tikkun olam, as it relates to practical methods, applies to working in all communities, not just Jewish communities. Jews are members of greater society, and as such, their actions are not limited to their own communities. Social welfare and volunteer work, as well as the donation of monetary and physical resources, are ways in which people can be philanthropically involved, and at the same time, be involved in tikkun olam.

By gemilut chasadim we should witness to others and let them feel that lovers of God have a heart for all creatures of God. Our lovingkindness should not only be restricted to our own people, it should be an act for all beings, people, animals and plants. to others we should be an example and showing the lovingkindness of God.

Daily we have to set God’s kind and loyal love before our eyes, but also have to share it with others. Being silent about our Most High is like not wanting to speak about your most beloved and keeping what is best in this world for yourself. When “madly in love” with God our mouth would not be still about Him.

Whatever is in our hearts is constantly spilling over onto those around us like the overflowing glass.
If we are filled with the Spirit, God’s lovingkindness pours out of us and onto all those around us.

We are like fountains of God’s blessing pouring out all around and it affects every part of us – how we respond to people, how we act, how we regard life, what we do, what we say.

Nobody here on earth is without faults. We too should recognise our own faults and mend those things we did wrong or where we caused problems. Also we do need to accept that others have their weaknesses and difficulties and should help them to overcome their problems. Loving God and knowing He is the Best Solution for us all we want to share that knowledge and want to show others the Way to God.
Looking at those around us we may not forget Who is with us and Who forgives all our iniquities, Who heals all our diseases, Who redeems our life from destruction, Who gives us all we need. How much are we willing to let others know That One Who is with us all the time and Who crowns us with lovingkindness and tender mercies?

It is our awareness of God being with us, close to us, prepared to go with us, that we should share with others around us. We should let them know Who satisfies our mouth with good things, so that our youth is renewed like the eagles’s. (Psalm 103:2-5)

Being in the Hands of God we should reach out to others having them to see also that saving Hand of our Most High. The chesed He has for us we should share with all those around us. Chasadiem with out expecting something in return, is what we have to deliver to those around us, showing them how we as children of the Most High want them too to become brothers and sisters of us, partakers of all the goodness we may expect from the Bo’re, the Maker and Provider of all things.

We may not always feel very well. We even can have moments that we feel depressed or do not see the use of this life. But then it is the moment to think about all the goodness you did already receive and still are going to receive. But then it is also the moment to put the self aside and to look to those around you who have it worse than you. Get up and go out into the world to help those who have more need for a helping hand. By making yourself useful you shall also going to feel better. Inviting all people of good will, without question of any marker of identity, colour or culture, gender, sexual orientation, creed, letting them feel welcome is part of our witnessing and showing your values are in line with the One Who Created everything and everyone.

Judaism may not be a missionary based religion and does not push faith or lifestyle on others, but as a lover of God we should show our love for God to others and share our love with others as part of our witnessing or as an act of our attitude worthy of God.

It is true that Jews never took part in Crusades or sent missionaries around the world to convince the “heathen” to adopt our religion and our ways of life.

In fact, Judaism does the exact opposite, making it extremely difficult to become Jewish – so why would anyone think it is “Jewish” to “crusade” for social justice? {3 misunderstandings about my Jewish values}

God does not ask to “crusade” or to bring knowledge about Him to others by violence or force. Just the opposite, by the love for others we should bring others to get to know Him.

It is wrong for Jews to think God’s Guidance is only for them. The provision of God’s Word as a very clear guidebook of how to live a good life and be a decent human being is not a private book only for Jews. It is true that the mitzvot or commandments of Judaism are for Jews and are not directed at non-Jews. But God clearly has given His Word and His Wishes so that mankind would know how to behave and how to relate to Him. It is wrong to think exclusively that redemption (at which time the world will be “repaired”)

has nothing to do with what non-Jews do or don’t do but rather the behavior of Jews. {3 misunderstandings about my Jewish values}

The influence on this process has to do with Jews fixing themselves, making sure that their behaviour is in accordance with the Wish of God. But it is to restrictive to think Jews as Chosen People of God should not try to get others to come to their God. Not believing that Jews should contribute to changing the world is not seeing how God always has used his prophets and His people to show the world which path they had to walk. Therefore in Judaism it is also important to help others to come on the right path, even when this requires changing them. At the same time Jews may not forget or put aside fulfilling their own obligations. They should never demanding others to do

“what we think is right”.

but should strive themselves to do what God tells is right and let others also know what is right in God His eyes.

The creation of a good and moral society, may be a by-product of adhering to the principles of Judaism and as such may give enough opportunities to be a witness for the good. But let us not mislead, or think this shall be enough. No, Scriptures lets us know to go out and to tell the Good News of the coming Kingdom of God.
That is a task we all have to undertake.

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Preceding articles

Created in the image of the Elohim to use their likeness properly

Where our life journey begins and inheritance of offices of parents

Second core value of Conservative Judaism opposite use of native tongue in Reform Judaism

Advocacy is Fundamental to Reform Judaism

To Heal the World? | Book Review

Tikkun or fixing… happiness or misery… the invisible dynamic

Ki Tisa – Torah Portion

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Additional reading

  1. Seeing or not seeing and willingness to find God
  2. People Seeking for God 3 Laws and directions
  3. Displeasures and Actions of the Almighty God
  4. Plan of God (some articles)
  5. 9 Adar and bickering or loving followers of the Torah preparing for Pesach
  6. Men who believed and had faith in a Higher Power they could not see
  7. This fighting world, Zionism and Israel #5
  8. Kingdom of God, what will it be like
  9. Fill your hands with the Lord’s work

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