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Tikkun Olam: You Can Repair The World

The concept of Tikkun Olam was born in ancient Jewish customs and writings. In the simplest terms, this beautiful phrase means "repair the world". The true meaning is more mystical than our modern conception, but this is a great starting place. You can repair the world right where you are. Shalom!

As a Christian, I am drawn to our Jewish roots. Jesus was born into and practiced this rich heritage and our faith is shaped by it far more than most Christians realize. The feasts, fasts, and festivals that were honored by Jesus are still ours to recognize and appreciate. The customs and traditions ground and center those who allow them to do so. They connect us to the faithful that came before and those yet to be born.

The legacy of Tikkun Olam was born in this vibrant culture and was practiced, taught, and demonstrated by Jesus. It is a practice that families can adopt. When you do this, you will restore the world.

Tikkun Olam is any human activity that improves or repairs our world. It is as simple as watering your neighbor's flowers, or as complex as starting a community food bank. Tikkun Olam is seeing the needs of others and working to meet them. It is caring for those around us. It is loving our neighbors as we love ourselves. It is being Christ to a hurting world.

Tikkun Olam begins most perfectly in the heart of a mother. In Judaism. the mother is the rabbi of the home. She is tasked with leading the children in the ways of righteousness, including teaching the ways of Tikkun Olam. It is a long-term commitment that deserves full attention. Motherhood is vital and deserves to be a priority.

Family and community life are essential to the traditions of Judaism and Christianity. The concepts of motherhood and neighborliness as we know them today, were articulated and fully appreciated in the earliest wisdom of these communities. I have always felt that I stood on the shoulders of these people of faith. I long to emulate their commitment.

Creating a Harbor Home for my children connected me to faithful women who lived generations ago and to generations that I will not live to see. I continue to cling to the rabbinic wisdom of mothering. Mother as Rabbi. What a perfect correlation.

 Judaism and Biblically-grounded Christianity elevate motherhood. Mothers who are living the Word of God before their children are revered and cherished every day. Mothers who sacrifice their energy and ambition to create a home rich in faith, love, and security are practicing Tikkun Olam on a cellular level.

The root of every society, every culture, every tribe, every nation in the world is the family. When mothers love their families with patience and strength, the world is repaired. In a Harbor Home, the mother is a heroine and is celebrated each day. Mother, know your value.

What are some precepts that you can embrace today that will help you and your children engage in the ways of Tikkun Olam?

I've made a short list here. I hope these will encourage you to use your strength, creativity, and rabbinic wisdom to spread wellness to the earth.

  1. Rethink what our culture is telling you. 21st-century Western culture has relegated motherhood to the realm of unskilled and, perhaps, unnecessary, labor. Motherhood, which should be respected and valued has, since WWII, become synonymous with low ambition, lack of intelligence and drive, and blind servitude. Rethink motherhood's role in our culture. It has real value.

  2. Motherhood is fulfilling. Women have been taught that the only path to fulfillment is through employment which shunts motherhood to one side. I have a question: What if this assumption is incorrect? What if we interrupt those thoughts for a moment and consider motherhood as an honorable calling with eternal ramifications? This is a scriptural concept. Consider thinking about motherhood from a Biblical perspective for five minutes.

  3. Take pride in the work of your hands. Creating a Harbor Home is not for the faint of heart. It is not easy nor does it happen by accident. Any day that you lead your family is a day to celebrate your accomplishments. A meal, a carpool, a paycheck. These are all hard things. These are reasons to be proud. You are the glue that binds your family together no matter what career path you are following. You are valuable beyond all calculation. In the peaceful day-to-day of raising a family, you are doing well. Stand encouraged and proud.

  4. Prune. Consider how much time you spend in busyness. Can your schedule be simplified? What if there was more joy and less chaos? What if there was more purpose and less busyness? Take a serious look at your family schedule and see if it can be reined in a bit. Make time for games, projects, longer meals, read-aloud time, kite flying, or bubble blowing. Your children will remember these moments when they are old and they will bless your name.

  5. Take the long view. I had the privilege of caring for my mother in law the last three years of her life. In her final months, her most vivid memories were of her mother and father. She was raised on a small but prosperous dairy farm during the Depression years, but it was the memory of her parents' devotion to one another, to their children, and, mostly. to their faith that was at the very tip of her heart and mind as she approached the end of her life. What will your children talk about when they are in their nineties? What memories are you planting there in the deep recesses of their minds? It will be the everyday moments that they will keep. Make those moments as lovely and loving as you can. At the end of their lives, your children will remember you and how you loved them. Above all other memories. Give them something rich and meaningful to remember.

Tikkun Olam. Repair the world. Begin with your children and your home. Create everyday memories that will last.

What everyday memories of childhood are close to your heart? What do you think that you will remember when you are ninety-two and frail?

Would you share what you remember from your childhood that you consider an act of Tikkun Olam? Can you tell us what you do with your children that will repair the world? Let us encourage each other. Share today. Use the hashtag #joyfulharborhome


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I love this Teresa! Just shared it with some young moms I know!

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