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Friday, June 14, 2019

TIKKUN OLAM



By Kay DiBianca


Most of us would probably agree that our world is broken and needs repair. But how can we as writers do our part?

When I decided to write a novel, I had two goals in mind: 1) to write a cozy mystery that would stand on its own as a mystery novel without consideration of religious content; and 2) to include part of my Christian worldview in the book, particularly an emphasis on the Jewish roots of my faith.

In my novel, The Watch on the Fencepost, a central chapter deals with the main character, Kathryn. She attends a Shabbat dinner hosted by the Goldmans. a kind Jewish family. Kathryn’s parents had died in a horrific automobile accident several months earlier, and she recently learned there may have been foul play involved in their deaths. The day before the Shabbat dinner, Kathryn had stumbled onto a cryptic note she thinks may be relevant to the truth behind the accident, but she doesn’t understand the meaning of the note.

During the dinner, Kathryn discovers her Jewish hosts suffered terrible loss as a result of the Holocaust, and she expresses surprise that they don’t harbor bitterness and resentment over past injustices done to their families. But the father, Harry Goldman, explains their concept of Tikkun Olam in these words: “Tikkun Olam literally means ‘repairing the world.’ It holds that by helping others, we will improve society and show honor to God. There is evil in the world, to be sure, and sometimes it has to be fought with armies and weapons. But it also has to be fought every day with acts of kindness toward our friends and even our enemies. … It’s our way of bringing light into the world to overcome the darkness.”

Harry relates goodness to light, and he reads from Genesis where we “hear” God’s first words in scripture spoken: “Let there be light.”

The result of this conversation is not just an inspiring discussion of the creation of the world and our roles as God’s children, but the conversation gives Kathryn insight into the note she found. Light has been focused on it, and she is one step closer to solving the mystery behind the accident.

I intended the Shabbat dinner chapter to be a metaphor about our relationship with God. One act of kindness or one discussion about His Word can not only illuminate a life and bring healing and repair to brokenness, but it can lead us one step closer to His ultimate truth.

How do you use your writing to enlighten a dark world?
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Kay DiBianca holds an MS degree in computer science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has worked in the IT departments of several major corporations, including IBM, International Paper, and FedEx. An avid runner, Kay can often be found at a nearby track, on the treadmill, or at a large park near her home. She's completed four marathons, fifteen or so half-marathons, and an unknown number of shorter races. Kay and her husband, Frank, are retired and live in Memphis, Tennessee. They are US representatives of Bridges for Peace, an international Christian organization, whose mission is to serve the people of Israel. You can connect with Kay through her website at https://kaydibianca.com.




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