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Tikkun Olam

Tikkun olam is a Hebrew phrase that means "repairing the world" or "perfecting the world". It is an important concept in Judaism.

The expression tikkun olam is used in the Mishnah in the phrase mip'nei tikkun olam ("for the sake of tikkun olam") to indicate that a practice should be followed not because it is required by Biblical law, but because it helps avoid negative social consequences.

The phrase tikkun olam is included in the Aleinu, a Jewish prayer that is traditionally recited three times daily. The Aleinu praises God for allowing the Jewish people to serve God, and expresses hope that the whole world one day will recognize God and abandon idolatry. The phrase tikkun olam is used in the longer expression l'takken olam b'malkhut Shaddai, "to perfect the world under God's sovereignty". In other words, when all people of the world abandon false gods and recognize God, the world will have been perfected.

Some Jews, particularly among the Orthodox, believe that performing mitzvot is a means of tikkun olam, helping to perfect the world, and that the performance of more mitzvot will hasten the coming of the Messiah and the Messianic Age.

Among many non-Orthodox Jews, the phrase tikkun olam has taken on political, as well as religious, significance. It is frequently used as a synonym for social justice, often with the implication that Jews should work toward the development of a fair and equal society with the same zeal with which their ancestors may have followed Jewish religious law.

"And that he may send the Messiah appointed for you, that is, Jesus, who must remain in heaven until the time of universal restoration ("the times of restitution of all things" KJ21 or "Tikkun Olam") that God announced long ago through his holy prophets" (Acts 3:20-21).

Believers in Jesus are expected to be involved in what Judaism calls tikkun olam "repairing the world". Tikkun olam is deeply embedded in Jewish ethic; for this reason even the secular Jews usually find themselves concerned with bettering society. Believers in the Messiah are not to separate themselves altogether (1 Corinthians 5:10) but to act like yeast causing the world's dough to rise (Luke 13:21), caring for widows and orphans while remaining unspotted through participation in the world's sins (James 1:27), not being conquered by evil but conquering it with good (Romans 12:21).

"And there shall come forth a Rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots... The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them... And it shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people who shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea" (Isaiah 11:1-12 KJ21).