Many PJ Library books (and blog posts) mention ways that children can help repair the world, or practice the Jewish value of tikkun olam. But where does that phrase come from – and what does it really mean? Can one good deed really change the world?
Jewish scholars, thinkers, and leaders have been talking about the idea of tikkun olam for a long time – hundreds and hundreds of years. Some of the wisest teachers in Judaism, taught that tikkun olam means that anything that we do is for the sake of the community, and may even right social wrongs. Tikkun Olam also has special meaning through the lens of Kabbalah, Jewish mysticism. The Jewish mystics of the middle ages likened the world to a broken vessel of light. Each good deed we do seals one shard back into place, ultimately recreating the whole.