Rabbi Eliezer Shemtov

Tikun Olam

The Jewish People comprises less than 0.21% of the world population.

What is our role? What impact do we have? Should we have? Can we have?

The great Greek sage Arquimedes, who explained the principle of the lever, is reported to have said: “Give me a place to stand on, and I shall move the world.” Can we move the world? Do we have that “place to stand on” necessary to do so?

The concept of Tikun Olam, Repairing the World, would imply that indeed we do.

In this paper we will explore the traditional, mystical and chassidic perspectives of Tikun Olam through the teachings of Maimonides, the Arizal, the Alter Rebbe and the Lubavitcher Rebbe, may their merit shield us.

We will also explore the Halachic concept of Dovor Hamaamid (catalyst) and its implications regarding Bitul (Halachic nullification and insignificance) and its philosophical and practical implications regarding the magnitude of the role of the Jewish people within the community of nations.

We will explore Nachmanides’ describing the 6,000 years of history as a reflection of the matrix created in the six days of Creation, as context for understanding our present era in relation to previous ones and our role in it as individuals and as a nation.