Tikkun Olam - Repairing the World
Tikkun Olam - by Adam Rhine
Watercolor and Colored Pencil on Board

For more information about this painting, email the artist at adam@hebrewart.com

“Therefore we put our hope in You, Lord our
G-d, that we may soon see Your mighty splendor, to remove detestable idolatry from the earth, and false gods will be utterly cut off, to perfect the universe through Your Almighty sovereignty.”
The Aleinu, Traditional Prayer


Tikkun Olam is a Hebrew phrase meaning the “repair” or “fixing” of the world. It not only explains the Jewish idea of social justice, but also our highest purpose is making this realm a dwelling place for the Divine. The more Mitzvot we do, that is, the more actions G-d has commanded us to do in order to express the Divine Will in this world, the closer the world moves towards perfection.

It is our duty to fix what we see as broken and bring beauty and harmony to our world. No individual is responsible for correcting every wrong on our planet, but each of us must rise in awareness to bring holiness to the people and situations we are able to influence.

This was one of the most challenging paintings of this collection. My original sketch included only the Magen David shape in the center. That's what I painted and it turned out exactly as planned.

My wife, a far better artist than I, saw the star floating by itself on the white board and commented that it looked unfinished. I agreed and began spontaneously to add everything you see around the Magen David. In its sketch-form, I had planned to make the theme Ema, or “Mother,” but after I had completed all of the illuminated areas, it felt like a complete and beautiful world to me, hence Tikkun Olam.


Text by Louise Temple from the book "Hebrew Illuminations"