The expression Tikkun Olam — universal betterment or repair — is used in the Mishna at several junctures (see Gittin 4:2 for example) in reference to a practice that should be followed because it helps avoid social disharmony rather than because it’s required by the Torah itself. The Gemorrah uses it in terms of a remedy for a lack or fault (see Chagiga 5A for example) or as a reparative regulation (see Baba Kama 82a for example). And mention is made of Tikkun Soferim (“scribal emendations”) at various points In Midrash Tanchuma, Midrash Rabbah, and in Rashi’s comments on the Torah. But the term was fleshed out considerably in Kabbalistic and Chassidic literature.
(c) 2013 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman
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Rabbi Yaakov Feldman has also translated and commented upon “The Path of the Just” and “The Duties of the Heart” (Jason Aronson Publishers).