Contact Us

Who Will Fix the World?

Who Will Fix the World?

From the upcoming book, Wisdom To Heal the Earth.

 Email

Who is going to fix up this mess of a world? The politicians? The social workers? The philosophers? The think tanks and analysts?

Perhaps some great minds can shed some light so we can find the door. Perhaps some sensible bureaucrat may even leave the door unlocked.

But don't wait for real change to enter through that door. Don’t wait for the academics and authorities in their ivory and steel towers to plan or enforce it. Don’t wait for those taking notes on the other side of a one-way glass to fix the world.

Real change is an inside job.Real change is an inside job. It is made by those who have an investment in the real world. By people who are charging for their services, buying and selling, inventing and manufacturing, trading and transporting. Those building the world have the power to fix it.



Magical Connections




Money and tikun have much to do with one another. Both are about putting things together. Or people together. Or people and things together.

Somehow, just with those connections, you’ve created more value in the world. Since you created it, you get a major chunk of that value, often in the form of money.

It turns out that making money is magical—something out of nothing.

How does the magic work? Where does that value come from?

Go back to the idea of tikun. Everything began as a single thought. When we make connections, we are reassembling that thought.Everything began as a single thought. When we make connections, we are reassembling that thought. As the connections assemble, more and more meaning appears.

We see that meaning as value. Sometimes we can even represent that value as money. And with that money, we can make yet more connections.

It turns out that commerce, as well as art, music, literature, the sciences—basically all activities that are particular to the human race—can be a form of tikun. They all can involve connecting the shattered fragments of our world to create value.

Now look at our world today. A global communications network in the hands of almost everyone has increased abundance many times over, spreading it to the extreme frontiers of human settlement.

For thousands of years, only a select few—around 5%—were literate. Today 80% of adults around the globe can read and write. Poverty and hunger have diminished worldwide more rapidly than anyone had predicted—by more than 50% in 20 years. Despite the common perception, we enjoy the most peaceful era of history—because we’ve discovered it’s better to make commerce than war.

A villager in Botswana may have no electricity, no running water, not even a bicycle to ride—but he has a mobile phone, and with that, access to all human knowledge and a means to contribute yet more information and experience. Nothing could more powerfully transform a person’s understanding of himself and his relationship to the world.

Connections are being made. Connections that create value.



Granular Connections




The problem is that there are other kinds of connections. Connections, paradoxically, that tear us apart.

Tikun is what occurs when people do the things that people do—and do them right. It happens when we connect from the inside-out. When we deal with other people as fellow human beings. When we appreciate the value of the resources we work with. When we take pride in our services. Even more so when we see our work as a divine mission—which it truly is.

When business is not about value, but about money; not about the fruit, but about the shell; not about the people, but about what you can get out of them—then it’s a dark and nasty force of chaos, dehumanization and destruction.

Instead of harmonizing society, Valueless connections create a granulated, homogenized pseudo-culture.so that each makes his or her unique contribution, it renders a granulated, homogenized pseudo-culture—a world where all the traditional bonds of family, community, tribe and culture are ripped away, to be replaced with isolation, abuse and emptiness. We are left as chaff in the wind, to be swept in aimless, lonely circles. Nothing sticks, there is no center, there is no value.



Real World Tikun




So it is that history travels in two opposing trajectories at once, both driven by the same human drive to dominate our world—for better, but too often, for worse.

Who chooses which trajectory will dominate? Not the legislators. Not the academics. Not the preachers. Not the enlightened souls who sit and ponder.

It is the salesperson who sells his customers what he knows to be best for them. The school teacher who treats each child as a person, an entire world. The business executive who is concerned for the welfare of the company’s employees both at the office back home and in the factory across the sea—and in the villages in which those workers live. The manufacturer whose every worker feels a sense of mission and meaning in their work.

Where the real world happens, Where the real world happens, from there is its tikun.from there is its tikun.

There will come a time, writes Maimonides, when “the occupation of the entire world will be only to know G‑d.” Meaning, we will have occupations. We will be builders. Importers. Exporters. Manufacturers. Professionals. And why will we occupy ourselves with these things? Because these are the ways to know the One who spoke and brought all things into being.

And so they are, as well, today.

Rabbi Tzvi Freeman, a senior editor at Chabad.org, also heads our Ask The Rabbi team. He is the author of Bringing Heaven Down to Earth. To subscribe to regular updates of Rabbi Freeman's writing, visit Freeman Files subscription. FaceBook @RabbiTzviFreeman Periscope @Tzvi_Freeman .
Sefira Ross is a freelance designer and illustrator whose original creations grace many Chabad.org pages. Residing in Seattle, Washington, her days are spent between multitasking illustrations and being a mom.
© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with Chabad.org's copyright policy.
 Email
Join the Discussion
Sort By:
8 Comments
1000 characters remaining
Benzion Waldman Millburn, NJ April 14, 2017

Moschiach will fix everything Rabbi:
As I wrote earlier, Moschiach will fix the world. It is important that your readers not despair as his arrival is imminent. Once he gets here everything will change. First, man will finally come to understand her/his place with respect to Ha'Shem. This will rearrange the current world hierarchy -- All women and men are equal.
Second, the Torah will be elevated (by everyone) to its proper importance as the guiding light to mankind.
Third, Moshiach is far smarter than everyone else. He has been diligently working to solve societal problems and has plans to fix the world.
Finally, and most importantly, G-d loves Moschiach and all women and men. Ha'Shem will continue to work through Moshiach to make everything better. Reply

Hanna Dano Cebu January 17, 2017

Sorry Rabbi but I can't seem to comprehend how this can be done at this present age or state of reality. These occupations consume much of the time and energy of people that they no longer have time for Torah or to think about their soul and their connection to The Souce, to Hashem. And being an employee of a company or a professional in private practice, in a regular modern society, requires a person to conform to the standards set by their employers or field of study, which can most probably be corrupted and devoid of spirituality. Reply

Benzion Walldman Millburn, NJ January 15, 2017

Moschiach will fix the world Don't worry! Moschiach will fix the world! Reply

Tzvi Freeman January 13, 2017

For Chaya Mindal We must protest, we must do whatever we can to stop evil.

But changing the world begins with doing whatever occupation G‑d has given you, and doing it in a G‑dly way. That could be commerce, that could be art, that could be teaching—wherever your talents and training are, start there. Do it the best you can for all stakeholders. Treat people as people, each an entire world. Give it your very best.

Then, when you protest, your voice will be heard. Reply

Chaya Mindal Toronto January 13, 2017

Rabbi: Interesting thoughts. Please translate them into specific action. This is Trump's exterior philosophy, shall we support him? Shall we March and protest, form committees? Support the Jewish Defence League standing against anti-semites? Shall we work on ourselves to do more Torah and Mitzvot and stay quietly on our synagogues as most Rabbi's say? The 'left' is joining in support with Islam around the world against Israel. Shall we sit silently by and watch our Holy Land be destroyed? Will our prayers to Hashem stop it? We have allowed Arabs to occupy our Temple Mount, Hevron and Schem, while increasing their population and terrorists. Will commerce stop this? The Rebbe says 'all that is left to do is to bring Moshiach and to live it'. Where is the answer Rabbi? The action? Thank you, and Good Shabbas to you and every Jew in the world. Reply

S U.K. January 12, 2017

Man or HaShem? This world is not meant to be fixed by man. We do our best to bring, light, happiness and hope into peoples lives in whatever way we can.

Many, who are purely money orientated cannot see this and proclaim money is the only way they can help others. I do not think the Messiah will control the 'one world bank.'

I would like to know where you have your statistics from regarding reading and writing around the globe, the UK does not have 80 percent of the population proficiency reading and writing when leaving school.

People owning mobile phones with access to the internet, it does not necessarily mean they can read and write, or even use all their functions.

For now, until the Messiah arrives, money does help a little. Loving and caring for one another is a major factor we have lost in this world. Reply

Anonymous via m.chabadmileend.com January 12, 2017

we all can fix the world, including politicians. we are all human. Reply

Beni Gad Germany January 11, 2017

By his deeds shall a man be known. Thank you for the insight. I read this on my way to work. Upliftment for the day! I have a question in addition, if I may. If one works helping others, hopefully putting shattered pieces together, but at the same time sees the authorities behind him not taking this way, how much should one speak out about this and contest these authorities? Thank you for your thoughts. Reply