May it be a Tikkun!

Overheard snippet:

Someone BT Yeshivish age 60 broke something valuable and they said:

“May it be a tikkun!”

My question is what happened to the traditional “May it be a Kapparah!”??
The traditional formula is about the need to pay for one’s sins, there has to be an expiation by transferring the punishment onto the inanimate object.
What does the new phrase mean? A tikkun is a positive act or something redemptive or restorative. Have we lost the sense of needing expiation for sins? Have we lost a sense that everyone has to pay dues or accept a certain amount of loss? Do we think everything we do has a positive force? Has the liberal language of tikkun olam finally become traditional? Thoughts?

6 responses to “May it be a Tikkun!

  1. This is Foucault’s famous legal shift from Discipline and Punish coming into Jewish thought. Punishment is no longer about paying a debt; now it is a means of rehabilitation. We are also seeing the effects of kiruv theology coming back to bite us. It is the angry Christian God that punishes people for their sins. We have a tolerant Jewish God who loves us and only desires to help us achieve happiness and a better world.

  2. Good questions. And Izgad offers a good answer. But an isolated incident does not a social trend make.

    Maybe this was just mistaken? It could even be widespread and mistaken. We certainly have notions of minhag shtut and minhag taut, both of which are to be uprooted when recognized. But they aren’t always thought-out or meaningful. This, too, may not have been a meaningful incident.

    Or maybe the person reporting this was ill-informed and mistook one Hebrew (unintelligible) phrase for another Hebrew (untelligible) phrase. I often hear people switch Hebrew terms like that; probably because they don’t clearly know what any of them mean.

    I assume you’ve considered these plausible possibilities, but there is too little information here to conjecture about conclusions. What else is there to the story?

  3. I often hear people switch Hebrew terms like that; probably because they don’t clearly know what any of them mean.

    Which other ones have you heard that are specific to our decade? Not the old jokes and classic mistakes but a malapropism that may possibly have a contemporary meaning behind the mistake.

  4. My mother uses “zol zein a kapura” for almost anything remotely bad that happens. I never took it to mean that punishment was transferred to the object, only that its loss, or any other hardship, should count as expiation for sins in lieu of something worse befalling you.

    Maybe the BT guy took the concept of Sh’virat HaHeilim very literally.

  5. I agree with Izgad.

    I think that once you we use the language of tikkun and a loving God with Baalei Teshuva, it becomes hard to have an angry vengeful God with ourselves.

    Many also tend to criticize the use of a punishing God as either psychologically unhelpful or wrong.

    So that cannot go back to infect or overturn previous worldviews.

  6. Is there also an element of triumphalism? With tikun (but not kaparah) the unfortunate event, and by extension bad things in the world, can be blamed on others. I mean that perhaps we have lost the sense not that we have to expiate sins, but that we sin at all – it’s others who sin.
    I’m not at all convinced what I just said is correct but thought it was worth throwing out.

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