There is a phrase derived from the Jewish faith that carries a lot of meaning for people of all faiths. The phrase is
Its best translation means “to heal or repair the world.” It is derived from the Creation story is Genesis 1.
Remember that in Genesis 1, after each day of creation, God looked upon what had been made and said, “It is good.” The understanding is that the original creation was filled with goodness.
calls us to remember that initial beauty and to work in our daily lives to maintain that goodness or repair it where it has been marred.
In the environmental movement
tikkun olam invites people of faith to work for clean air, water, soil and an overall healthy environment. There are any number of things that one might do…plant a tree, support endangered species, walk more and drive less, recycle, etc. that fall under the definition of tikkun olam.
It encompasses anything that cares for the environment.
Rabbi Irwin Kula points out that in America this phrase has taken on a secondary meaning as well. He notes that
is used to exhort us to mend the disharmonies of the world through the pursuit of social justice. Whenever we work to bring peace, harmony and equality we are engaged in healing or repairing the world.
One final note accompanies this inspiring word. Krista Tippett explains that when the world was created, a bit of God’s light was placed within all that was created. Our highest calling as humans is to look for that holy light, point it out whenever and wherever we find it and gather it up and in so doing repair the world. With eloquence Tippett states, “each one of us, flawed and inadequate as we may feel, has exactly what’s needed to help repair the part of the world we can see and touch.”
It reminds us of the beauty of God’s creation, ourselves included. And it invites us to live in ways that continue to heal the brokenness that is present today. It is both an inspiration and an invitation for our daily lives.