By Akin Ojumu

“Mending a Sin-Broken World”

Tikkun olam is a concept in Judaism that calls for deliberate actions designed to repair and improve the world. In classical rabbinic literature, the phrase referred to legal enactments intended to preserve the social order. 

The idea behind the concept of tikkun olam is that all Jews are called upon to make the world more just, peaceful, tolerant, and equal, through acts of charity, kindness, and political action. Translated “repair the world” or “mend the world,” tikkun olam is the belief that each of us is responsible for putting the world back together a little at a time, every single day.

Traditionally, tikkun olam is believed to have originated from an ancient Hebrew prayer known as Aleinu. This prayer includes the phrase le-taken olam be-malchut shaddai, typically translated as “when the world shall be perfected under the reign of the Almighty.” The prayer is a call for God’s eternal rule and a reaffirmation of faith and dedication to God. 

That the world needs mending is an acknowledgment of the reality of man’s existence. Humanity’s dwelling is a broken place, and the abode of man is a stench-oozing commode. The firehose of evil incessantly douses the home of the human race with highly flammable accelerants of chaos, calamity, and catastrophe. The earth is foul and corrupt, all its inhabitants are heinous, nefarious and vile. 

Malevolence and maleficence are woven into the fabrics of human relationships. As he tramples about in his fallenness, man leaves a trail of cruelty, savagery, debauchery, and degeneracy in his wake. He lies, cheats, hates, and murders at will. The imagination of his thoughts is evil continually.

Sickness, disease, and plagues are his reward. Sadness, loneliness, and hopelessness are mans constant companions. Humanity is buffeted with anxiety, adversity, and tragedy on every side. Misery, misfortune and despondency knock on his door at the most inopportune time. Doom and gloom are perpetual clouds over his sky.

Yet, it was not always like this. For when the LORD completed the work of creation, and He looked at the heaven and the earth and everything that He had made, the Bible tells us, “Behold, it was all very good,” and God rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 

The light, the expanse, and the waters that God created were good. The vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees were good. The sun and the stars were good. The swarms of living creatures in the water were good and the birds flying above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens were equally good. 

God saw that the great sea monsters and the winged bird were good. All the cattle, the creeping things and the beast of the fields were all good. When God looked at the man He had made, He was very pleased, because everything about man was good and perfect. God looked at the whole of creation, everything was pretty darn good.

For a period of time, the heaven and earth that God created remained pristine and immaculate. The whole of God’s creation remained perfect, flawless, and unspoiled. And everything that had breath praised God. In unison, they continually offered a chorus of praise and adoration to their Creator. 

The sun, moon, and stars hallowed His Name. Fire and hail, snow and clouds, wind and weather sang His praise. Mountains and hills bowed down before God. Fruit trees and cedars gave Him reverence. Creatures of the ocean depths, wild animals and all livestock, small scurrying animals and birds all did obeisance to ELOHIM. Above all, Adam and Eve loved God and were best friends with Him. 

While all of creation lived in harmony with God, they all also existed in a state of harmony within and among themselves. The plants hurt no one, serpents had no venom, and the roar of the lion was a joyful noise. Sickness and disease were nonexistent. There was no aging and there was no death. They suffered no pain, experienced no sorrow, and none harbored animosity, hostility, or enmity towards the other. 

During this golden period of goodness, it was joy, bliss, and jubilation all day long in the heaven and earth that God created. That was the case until the day Adam and Eve fell for the seduction of Satan’s deception. On that consequential day, evil corrupted everything in heaven and earth totally, and depravity entered into the hearts of all living things. 

As Adam and Eve pulled just one stone from the base of humanity’s mountain, they were stunned to discover that the fatal avalanche would bury them along with the entire human race and all of God’s creation under the dirt and rubble of sin and death.

Tikkun olam is man’s futile self-effort at restoring what he lost to sin. There’s, however, no amount of charity, kindness, or political action that can mend a broken world corrupted with sin. The remedy for mans malady cannot be found in a multitude of good works or secular laws.

Bookshelves sag under the weight of books that have been written on the sociology of self-improvements and self-development, and there are reams of papers published on the psychology of personal-growth and person-empowerment. None has worked, all are for naught, and a chasing after the wind. The depravity of man continues unabated, and he remains in his perpetual death spiral. 


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