The Whole World in Our Hands
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The Whole World in Our Hands

Categories Social Justice 

Jewish Value:

     Repair the World

Lesson Summary:

This lesson is part of a unit called "Repairing The World" from, a resource that offers philanthropy education resources that teach giving and civic engagement. 

The other lessons are:
Love Your Neighbor Like Yourself
Power of Speech

The purpose of this lesson is:

"This lesson will introduce the concept of tikkun olam to the students and teach of its importance. It will show them that everyone has the ability to do tikkun olam, and that it can be accomplished in a variety of ways."


"The learner will:

  • demonstrate an understanding of the pasuk in Tosefta Berakhot 4:1 "One should only use one’s face, hands, and feet to honor one’s creator." 
  • identify ways different skills can be used to help others. 
  • demonstrate an understanding of the concept of tikkun olam. brainstorm ways to help others.
(taken from

Be Inspired:The ideas included are offered as starting points as you and your students explore, discover and live the lessons. Be sure to elicit and encourage student and parent participation, consistently reinforcing the value being addressed. Allow lessons to authentically develop and change based on engagement and interests.

Lesson Plan Components

For the educatorJewish Thought, Text, and Traditionsmore

Tikkun olam--to repair the world is the notion that we are G-d’s partners in perfecting the world and we can repair and transform a broken world.

Tikkun means "repairing"; olam means "world, cosmos, eternity."  The Mishnah tells us that we need to help others beyond what may be required, "for the sake of tikkun olam." In the Aleinu prayer we express our hope for a repaired world through recognition of G-d’s dominion over us.  In the 16th century, Isaac Luria expanded our understanding of tikkun olam:  With each mitzvah, we help repair the world around us.  Today, the words tikkun olam are often used as shorthand for "efforts to better the world," such as reading to an at-risk child, serving meals at a homeless shelter, or speaking out on an important matter of public policy.

The mitzvah of tikkun olam obliges us both to serve immediate needs and to work toward the prevention of hunger, homelessness, disease, ignorance, abuse, and oppression among all people, as well as working toward preserving the health of the environment upon which all life depends.

While individual acts of tzedakah and g’milut chasadim manifest a commitment to making the world a more caring and compassionate place, there are occasions when tikkun olam, the healing of our world, may most effectively be achieved by taking collective action.

Questions for Reflection:

1. How much of our commitments should be dedicated to tikkun olam over other values?

2. What motivates you to fix or repair the world?

3. What does an ideal world, fully repaired, look like to you?

4. How can you incorporate the value of tikkun olam in your classroom?

Jewish every dayIncorporate Jewish Valuesmore

Materials and resourcesmore



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Music Connectionsmore

List of All Songs

Songs about Repairing The World:


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