In Judaism, the phrase ‘Tikkun Olam’ appears pretty frequently. It basically means ‘mending the world’, which sounds like a massive task. Think of the size of the world itself, and the amount of sorrow and immorality in it, and compare it to the power and influence of the average person on the street. It seems pretty impossible to fix the world. And that’s why it’s so important to attempt to do so. If it’s just you, or just I, against everyone else, it is admittedly a losing battle. Add in just one other person, and suddenly, the amount of good deeds is growing exponentially. If we all promised to try our hand at this mending the world thing, we’d be done in no time at all, as we made our way from place to place, influencing others and changing lives. But wait. How exactly are we supposed to be going about this?
We can’t mend the world if we don’t know how to do so, but luckily, the method is rather easy. In fact, it’s a one ingredient recipe, and the ingredient requires no money or resources whatsoever (though of course resources help). It’s kindness. Simple, humble acts of kindness- changing (and mending!) the world, one at a time. Hence the title of this article. ‘The World is Built on Kindness’. Think back to the last good deed you performed- perhaps it was listening to someone’s problem, or helping a stranger with their groceries- and ask yourself if you changed the world that day. Probably, you’ll answer “definitely not!”. Fortunately, you’re wrong about that. If you don’t believe this- just imagine for a minute if everyone in the works was willing to perform the small good deed you did. Don’t you think the world would be a much prettier place?
In the Tanya, we read about the ideal way to give tzedekah. Of course, giving to charity in any way, shape or form, is a massively important mitzvah, but the Alter Rebbe teaches us that it’s better to give a small amount each day, so that one grows accustomed to giving, than to give one lump sum each year. It’s the same with good deeds, with chesed. Rather than making a grand gesture, it’s far better to start small, and even carry on that way. It’s much more manageable and much easier to find enthusiasm for. And this truly is the meaning of Tikkun Olam- performing kind deeds with enthusiasm.
So what are you waiting for? Let’s start straight away and hasten the arrival of Moshiach, may he come speedily and in our days!