“The central mitzvah or commandment for out era is the mitzvah of Tikkun Olam. It is the defining mission of Jews to strive for the repair of the world by making society more just, fair, egalitarian, and sensitive. Judaism demands that we repair the world by striving for social justice. It is the mission of Jews in the Divine Plan for the universe to repair the world by repairing man, by improving and advancing mankind.”
The above paragraph is a fair representation of what has become the defining raison d’etre of Judaism as conveyed by non-Orthodox liberal Jewish organizations and synagogues in America. It is not a direct citation from any, but is an accurate paraphrase of what has become the canon of non-Orthodox Jewish liberalism, in essence the orthodoxy of the non-Orthodox. It is the “modernized” and contemporary “reinterpretation” of “Jewish ethics” as defined and inculcated by much of the Reform and Conservative movements. It is also the entire “theology” of the pseudo-Jewish radical leftist groups operating at the fringes of the Jewish community, including the “Renewal/ALEPH” movement, the “Eco-Judaism” groups, the “Tikkun community” of people and groups that are satellites to the magazine by that same name published by pseudo-Rabbi Michael Lerner, and what remains of the “Reconstructionists.” Lerner discovers “repair of the world” even in LSD consumption.
So just what are we to make of the above “Tikkun Olam” proclamation and manifest?
The most important thing that must be understood about the Tikkun Olam catechism of non-Orthodox Judaism in the United States is that each and every sentence in the above proclamation is false.
First of all, there is no such thing as a mitzvah or commandment of “Tikkun Olam.” Jews are nowhere commanded to “repair the world.” In all the authoritative or traditional compilations of the commandments of Judaism, none list “Tikkun Olam” as one of them. The expression itself does not appear anywhere in the Torah or in the entire Bible. Those assimilationist liberals who insist that the entire “ethics of the Prophets” can be reduced to the pursuit of “Tikkun Olam” will have to explain why none of the Books of the Prophets use the term. “Tikkun Olam” is used sporadically in the Talmud, but as a technical term for resolution of certain judicial problems that arise before rabbinic courts. The only place where the expression appears in Jewish prayer is in the “Aleinu” and there it clearly has nothing at all to do with social justice. In the “Aleinu,” Tikkun Olam is explicitly explained in the prayer text itself as the quest to eliminate pagan superstition and to see God’s rule of the universe implemented. In other words, it is a theological notion, not a social or political or environmental one. In Judaism, the world does not get repaired by redistribution of income and wealth nor by cutting carbon emissions but by humans subordinating themselves to God’s will.