Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Tikkun Olam: Mending the World

Jews believe it is our job to mend the world. Why? Because it’s broken.

According to one story, when God was making the world, way back when, he made some big jugs to hold the divine light of Goodness and Virtue – but these jugs, or jars, some say they were jars, or even vases, the vases shattered as God was pouring, and all the light went everywhere, spilling throughout creation. That’s why you find bits of divine light throughout creation. Yes, even in Iraq.

Well, God had a mess after that happened, all that light everywhere instead of in one nice place like the plan had been. So he made humans and he gave us a job: our job is to mend the world, to patch up the broken places and bring all that divine light of goodness back together again. That’s why we’re here.

This moral obligation to mend the world is called Tikkun Olam. We’re supposed to do everything we can to change the world for the better – not just for people, either. For animals, for trees, for ladybugs. We’re meant to mend the whole world. Hey, God made the whole thing, didn’t he?

You see the trouble, though. Fast as we try to mend it, other people keep smashing it apart. Over here, we donate an afternoon helping preschoolers learn to read. Over there, Bushco bombs the shit out of a country.

It’s getting a little annoying.

Now this is not to say that I don’t understand the motives behind Bushco and his ilk. I too lived through 9/11. It’s just that I’m thinking it’s way past time for humanity to grow the fuck up. We don’t have time for this anymore. There are too many of us and this planet is way too close to the edge for us to act like we’re still living in caves and I can go bash Urg on the head with my club because Urg bashed me first and I’m not letting him get away with that, am I?

Use a little reason, can’t we? Is the world going to be better off or worse off if we bomb the shit out of Iraq? Will this make the planet better or worse?

I realize Bush claims he has made things better. Bush also claims he has created jobs and that global warming is unsupported by the evidence and that giving tax breaks to extremely rich people will, honestly, any minute now, stimulate the economy, just wait and see. (See Infinite Stitch for a good post on this: http://stitch.blogs.com/the_infinite_stitch/2004/10/are_you_better_.html#comments)

I’ve had my bait of this particular faith-based politician.

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