91 Possible Reasons Why You May Have Decided To Do More Tikkun Olam, Part II

Part two of “Reasons Why You May Have Decided To Do More Tikkun Olam, In No Particular Order of Importance.

Here are the remaining 50. The first 41 are in a separate blog post.

42. I always had a need to achieve excellence, and I sensed that excellence in Tikkun Olam was somehow different than doing well in my job.

43. Doing Mitzvah work gives me a feeling of stability. It keeps me from wasting time on trivial pursuits. It also keeps my mind from running every which way from one end of the universe to the other at lightning speed.

44. I feel empty about my regular work routine, but I think that doing Tikkun Olam will fill this void with meaning.

45. I took stock of how far I had gotten in my job. I thought a lot about how it wasn’t as high up as I had wanted, hoped, or dreamed by this time in my life. Somewhere along the way, I came to realize that the best and healthiest way to deal with it is to get over it and to get on with my life. Thinking about it more and more, it made sense that “getting on with my life” meant doing Tikkun Olam where it doesn’t matter anymore how highly rated I am by my boss.

46. I admire creative people but have always considered myself to be a non-creative person. I failed at painting, and I wouldn’t even try sculpture. Even good friends winced when I played the piano or sang a song I wrote. Maybe I can be creative in another way, namely, by doing Tikkun Olam.

47. Many people risk their lives for the sake of other people. The least I can do is some kind of Tikkun Olam even if there is no great risk involved.

48. I’ve always been a tinkerer. I have read every biography of Thomas Edison that was ever published. I am sure there is some way I can become a “Tinkerer for Mitzvahs”. Maybe I can refine some Tikkun Olam project that others have working on but couldn’t finish.

49. I am an amateur inventor, though I’ve never patented any of my inventions. (My combination tire iron/automatic espresso machine/shoe shine kit never caught on. ) Maybe I can invent some Tikkun Olam project no one has ever thought of before.

50. In some way, I want to make up for things I really messed up in my life until now.

51. I often think of myself as wishy-washy. It took me months to decide Buick or Toyota? Hours of research and indecisiveness — Mac or PC? I am a basket case at Baskin-Robbins. Maybe by committing myself to providing for the needs of others I will become more assertive and decisive.

52. I am tired of people saying to me, “Get a life!”

53. When I was a kid, somebody called me a real loser, and that I would never amount to anything in life. It still stings. No one is a loser when he or she is doing Tikkun Olam.

54. Even though I’ve done some good for others all my life, I really want to do more.

55. By nature and training I am a specialist. There isn’t a thing about the archeology of ancient Israel, neuro-psychopharmacology, or th century Hebrew poetry that I haven’t mastered. I have a photographic memory and an incredible ability to focus intensely on a problem and to solve it. One day, I just said to myself, “With all these gifts and tools, I bet I can make the transition into Tikkun Olam very easily. ”

56. I love doing diddly tasks like filing papers, stuffing envelopes, washing dirty dishes and greasy pots and pans, vacuuming, changing kitty litter boxes, and scrubbing bathrooms until they sparkle. I realize that not too many other people enjoy this kind of thing, so I thought these particular little joys in my life might be of particular use for various Tzedakah projects.

57. Many times I have heard from others about “doing this Tikkun Olam thing”, and how there’s just nothing in Life quite like making someone else happy, healthy, warm, and with enough food to live a good life. They gave me ideas how to get more involved, and I decided to jump at the opportunity.

58. My accountant (lawyer, spouse, child, I, myself) looked at my financial situation and decided it would be wise to get more charitable deductions on my tax form.

59. One day it hit me that I was resting on my Tikkun Olam laurels. So I put away all the awards from my walls and display cases, talked to some friends, and got started on a new program to teach Hebrew to adults who never never had the opportunity to learn.

60. I kept hearing, “No one is indispensable. ” It just didn’t sound right to me. I decided to increase my efforts to get others to do Tikkun Olam with me by telling them they were absolutely and totally indispensable.

61. Life has been good to me. Things have generally gone very smoothly: Right out of college I got a well-paying job that I liked; I was never unemployed; I had a comfortable lifestyle, but then I got swept up into materialism a little too much. I got back “heavy” into Tikkun Olam, which quickly cured me.

62. My eyeglasses broke one day. It was a holiday and the optometrist’s office was closed, so for 24 hours I could barely function. I thought to myself, “If something as simple as a pair of glasses holds others back, this can be easily corrected. And I can do something about it. ”

62. I like to try new things, and since Tikkun Olam covers every possible aspect of life, there are many new things I could try.

64. I come from a long line of social change activists — real Tikkun Olamniks. Someone in my family was always involved in the fight for freedom for Soviet Jews, the chance for Ethiopian Jews to come to Israel, children’s rights in carpet factories, women’s rights, civil rights, voters’ rights, workers’ rights, elders’ rights, equitable healthcare legislation, fair housing, fair trade prices for coffee farmers…. Some of it inevitably rubbed off on me.

65. I wanted to be well thought of by my family and friends. When they think of me, I want them to think, “caring, generous, a Mensch. ”

66. When I began to receive birthday cards that humorously indicated that I was “over the hill”, I got angry and decided it was time to live every day with at least some Tikkun Olam on my agenda.

67. I don’t think I have been using all of my brain power. It may very well be that being involved in Things Larger than just my own life, dormant parts of my brain will become activated and I will function better and approach Life with greater sensitivity.

68. I once heard the line, “Doing good is good”, and I thought that made a lot of sense.

69. I am a power-hungry person. I think I can apply this hunger for power to Tikkun Olam. I am sure it will make a significant difference in the lives of many people.

70. I’m tired of “it” — people going hungry when there is enough food in the world to feed everyone, terrorism, anyone who can’t get basic healthcare, nursing homes that don’t treat their Elders with sufficient dignity and confuse “treatment” for “care”. I’m not going to take it anymore. I am going to dig in and do something about it.

71. I wanted to be useful.

72. I didn’t want to feel useless.

73. I like how, with only a little effort, I can make great changes in the lives of many other people.

74. I began to realize how often a small Mitzvah-gesture can change the lives of other people in a very big way, and I wanted to do more of it.

75. I hate waste: food, recyclables tossed in the trash, or human talents and lives.

76. I hate seeing others waste things, just like in #75

77. I hate seeing people waste good money that could be used for Tikkun Olam. I went to one-too-many weddings that cost $200,000, and I was so outraged at the extravagance and waste, I said to myself, “I have to do something about this!” I went on a campaign to encourage others to downgrade their excessive Life-events and to donate the money they saved to Tzedakah. My first victory was convincing a Tzedakah organization to change its annual dinner (which cost $150/person for the food) to a dessert reception ($12/person). As a result, $20,354 more became available for its Tzedakah work.

78. I want to leave a legacy of Mitzvahs for my children/grandchildren/friends.

79. I have a lot of time on my hands, more than I could possibly handle without something meaningful to do with myself and for others.

80. I have had so many time constraints because of my job, I didn’t think I had enough time to do all the Tikkun Olam I wanted, and I began to chomp at the bit. Now — no matter the demands of my job, I am ready to make a BIG difference. Even if I don’t think I have the time, I am determined to make time anyway.

81. I see far too many retired people living what appear to be boring lives. I don’t want that to happen to me.

82. I used to think building the business (establishing my reputation, becoming The Best in my field) were the most important things in Life. Now I see that, while they are important, they aren’t that important compared to doing Tikkun Olam.

83. Life expectancy statistics keep getting better and better, and with all of those statistically additional years, it means I will have much more time to do many, many Mitzvahs.

84. The late Senator Paul Tsongas once said, “No man ever said on his deathbed I wish I had spent more time in the office” — When I heard this line, it rang a very loud, often distracting, and occasionally deafening, bell in my soul. I cut back on the workload and starting putting more effort into Tikkun Olam.

85. I began to feel that my idealism was slipping away from me. I felt a terrible sense of loss. Somehow I knew that doing Tikkun Olam would restore this idealism.

86. All around me, I kept hearing cynicism and sarcasm. Then I heard myself saying similarly sarcastic and cynical lines. I even disparaged the good things others were doing. This shocked me so much, it really woke me up. By getting more involved in Tikkun Olam I finally stopped myself.

87. All my life I have been a collector. I amassed coffee mugs, old license plates, keys, vintage electric trains, rare wines, dozens of knick-knacks, and what seemed like tons of other “stuff” from my travels. One day, I suddenly realized I was surrounded by things. Doing my Tikkun Olam work reminded me that (1) things in and of themselves have no real value, and that (2) sometimes some things can be used for Tikkun Olam. Even more — there are times when things are most needed for a specific Mitzvah solution. Now I relate to “things” very differently.

88. Now and again I noticed how some people were more disturbed when a famous painting was destroyed in a fire. They weren’t as troubled by the death of the guard who was killed when the flames raged out of control. I wanted to do something to help people rethink their priorities and to help them restore the value of human life to its proper place.

89. I am frequently asked to donate to a specific Tzedakah program in honor of someone I know. The same is true for donations in memory of relatives and friends I knew. Sometime along the way it struck me that I could also become involved in one of those programs with my time and talents. This seemed to me to be a particularly fine way to honor. or to honor the memory of, individuals who had been good to me.

90. I like myself more when I do good things.

91. I received a Vision from Above. I know this as a fact, because almost every one of the entries on this list came to me in a single outpouring of high-speed writing. The circumstances were these: I had eaten some weird combination of foods right before I went to bed. Around 1:00a. m. , after having tossed and turned for a couple of hours, and after some spectacular, disjointed, but entertaining dreams, I awoke and the words began to spill out. I wrote until 4:15a. m. Having experienced The Glory in its full glory, and having written out all these reasons, I thought it might be time to settle down and do some real-live Tikkun Olam.

(These are the remaining 50. The first 41 are in a separate blog post)

About the Author
Danny Siegel is a well-known author, lecturer, and poet who has spoken in more than 500 North American Jewish communities on Tzedakah and Jewish values, besides reading from his own poetry. He is the author of 29 1/2 books on such topics as Mitzvah heroism practical and personalized Tzedakah, and Talmudic quotes about living the Jewish life well. Siegel has been referred to as "The World's Greatest Expert on Microphilanthropy", "The Pied Piper of Tzedakah", "A Pioneer Of Tzedakah", and "The Most Famous Unknown Jewish Poet in America."
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