The Hebrew term “tikkun olam” תיקון עולם means “repairing the world.” It is a concept developed by the ancient rabbis who wrote the Mishnah, the first major rabbinic work to re-define Jewish worship after the Roman destruction of the Second Temple in the year 70 CE.
The two photos above show copies of a page from the Mishnah. The document on the left is from the early Middle Ages. The document on the right is a fragment of a page from the Mishnah discovered in the Cario Geniza.
To quote the words of Rabbi David Saperstein (Director of the URJ’s Religious Action Center in Washington DC) “Our charge during the Yamim Noraim, High Holy Days, is to remember our partnership and covenant with God, to perform acts of righteousness and to work together to fulfill the words of the prophet Isaiah, who cried out that we should strive to “unlock the fetters of wickedness… let the oppressed go free.. share your bread with the hungry, and take the wretched poor into your home” (Isaiah 58:6-8). As we stand again on the threshold of the New Year, let us recognize this commitment to tikkun olam and to take action to repair our world.”