A story is told of a woman who stood before God, her heart saddened by the pain, suffering and injustices of the world. “Dear God,” she cried out, “look at all the problems in this world. Why don’t you send help?” God responded, “I did send help--I sent you.”
What's a mitzvah?
The word ‘mitzvah’ means ‘commandment’ or ‘rule’. Mitzvot (plural of mitzvah) are the things that God wants us to do--they are the 613 precepts and commandments written in the Torah that are intended to guide human behavior. There are mitzvot about foods, holidays and prayers, kindness
and cleanliness, honesty, how to treat other people and much more.
What's Tikkun Olam and how is it connected to doing mitzvot?
Tikkun Olam --repairing or fixing the world--is a Jewish concept that we find references to in Jewish literature dating back nearly 2000 years. In the Mishnah
(a compendium of classical rabbinic teachings codified circa 200 C.E.), the term "mipnei tikkun ha-olam" is used to refer to social policy legislation that provides extra protection
to people who may be at a disadvantage in society (ex. widows, slaves, and resident aliens).
Today, tikkun olam has taken on a more general meaning: we should seek out opportunities to do mitzvot that help others, help our community and help our world. Doing mitzvot brings about tikkun olam.
How can we bring the concept "down to size" for our children? Start small! Here are some examples of doing mitzvot that lead directly to tikkun olam. Don't be afraid to use these terms with your kids to describe their actions and the consequences of their actions.
helping with errands
cleaning up the playroom
helping another person
using kind words such as "please" and "thank you"
If you're interested in taking your children to volunteer at an organization in our community, here are some ideas of places that welcome volunteers of all ages:
Mitzvah Food Project
Mitzvah Food Project is coordinated by the Jewish Federation of Greater
Philadelphia. The goal of the program is to bring people together to
perform mitzvot and provide opportunities to do tikkun olam through
community projects. Most importantly, it exists to assist people in
our community who are in need. For more information call 215.832.0531 or
email Drisana Davis
JRA Food Distributions
Each month, volunteers
are needed to package kosher, non-perishable food in boxes and to deliver
the food packages to recipient families according to
pre-determined delivery routes. To volunteer,
call the JRA office at 610-660-0190.
The Madlyn and Leonard Abramson Center for Jewish Life
make friendly visits to patients and their family members. Visits
include talking, listening, sharing a hobby, and providing a
compassionate presence at a difficult time in life. This is an
opportunity to perform a true mitzvah and make a meaningful difference
in someone's life. Multi-generational Activities: work with both
children and seniors to help prepare and run artistic programs. For more
information call 215.371.1393 or email the Center.
Mitzvah Circle Foundation
Foundation provides meaningful support to individuals and families
during difficult times by coordinating donors of supplies and services
with people who are truly in need of them. Mitzvah Circle also provides
opportunities for participants of all ages including children, teens,
adults and senior citizens to take part in meaningful service projects
that help people in your own neighborhood as well as communities across
the country. For more information call 610.930.5928 or email the Foundation.
Rachael Goodman - Tikkun Olam
Madelyn Gives for her Birthday
Tikkun Olam in Action