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Lesson 3: Working with Problems and Fixing the World (Tikkun Olam)

Lesson 3: Working with Problems and Fixing the World (Tikkun Olam)


Life is not perfect. Sometimes little things go wrong, sometimes big things go wrong. But what do you do when there are problems? Some people just get very frustrated and angry. But the Torah teaches a better way.

Adam was the first man created by G‑d. G‑d placed Adam in a beautiful garden which grew delicious fruit. But in order for a garden to remain beautiful and fruitful, there has to be a gardener to work and maintain it. Adam was placed in the garden not just to enjoy the delicious fruit, but also to care for the garden.1

We are all gardeners in this world. We have the privilege of enjoying the gifts that G‑d provides for us. But we also have the responsibility of keeping G‑d’s world beautiful.2 The story of Adam teaches us that when you see a problem, instead of getting angry, you should work to fix the problem.

  • What are some of the gifts from G‑d that you have the privilege of enjoying?
  • What are some problems that get you angry or frustrated?
  • What are some examples of things that you can do to take responsibility and fix those problems (even if they’re not your fault)?
  • Do you feel better when someone else fixes your problems, or when you solve your own problems? Why?
  • What is the difference between being a “taker” and a “giver”?
  • How is this connected to becoming bar/bat mitzvah?

“G‑d placed Adam in the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and preserve it.” (Genesis 2:15)
“Everything created in the six days of creation needs fixing.” (Midrash Rabbah, Genesis 11:6)
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