What is Tikkun Olam?
You are not required to complete the work, yet you are not allowed to desist from it.
– Pirkei Avot, 2:21
Tikkun Olam is the imperative to repair the world, so that it reflects the divine values of Justice (tzedek), Compassion (hesed), and Peace (shalom). Kesher Israel’s Tikun Olam is dedicated to finding Jewish ways in which to improve the World.
The concept of Tikkun Olam was created by Rabbi Isaac Luria in the city of Safed during the sixteenth century. Today, Tikkun Olam is identified with working for social justice, peace, freedom, equality, and conservation of the environment.
Clearly, all three terms are connected with each other, and all are aspects of tikkun olam – repairing a broken world. Tikkun olam is our Jewish mandate to do what we can to make the world a better place for all of God’s children. Tzedakah, of course, is charity – and it comes from the Hebrew word tzedek, which means justice. Thus, giving tzedakah is simply doing what is right and just. G’milut hasadim are deeds of loving-kindness – giving of our time, our energy, ourselves, to help others on a personal level. Cooking for the homeless, visiting the sick or the elderly, paying a condolence call, are all examples of g’milut hasadim. And social action focuses on community work and action. It is striving to effect change in the laws of our country; it is protesting when wrongs are perceived; it is trying to make justice a reality for all. We hope that each and every one of you will engage in some aspect of tikkun olam, so that we can truly say we did our part to try to make God’s kingdom on earth a reality. Such deeds are truly wonderful family activities – it is time well spent, and teaches the values we want our children to live by throughout their lives.