Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews -- For those who like their news and truths frank and sharp

‘A mouth they have, yet, they’re not speaking ‘

My translations follow the short grammar on Biblical Hebrew I’m writing.

Almost all Jewish festive day banning work, we say Hallel, Psalms 113–118. (The first day(s) of Pesach twice/thrice, but the last day(s) of Pesach, on Rosh haShannah, and Yom Kippur not, but we do say it all of Chanukah.) And in Psalms 115, we ridicule idols. Psalms 115:5-7: “A mouth they have, yet, they’re not speaking; eyes they have, yet, they’re not seeing. Ears they have, yet they’re not hearing; a nose they have, yet, they’re not smelling a thing [cf Ezekiel 16:19]. Their hands exist, yet, they’re not feeling/moving to touch a thing, and their legs exist, yet, they’re not walking [cf Jeremiah 10:5, Isaiah 46:7]; they won’t say a thing with their non-existent throats.”

Every morning on a day that’s not a workday, Jewish men are supposed to say in the prayers Psalm 135. Towards the end, it makes fun of idols too. Psalms 135: 16-17: “A mouth they have, yet, they are not speaking; eyes they have, yet, they are not seeing. Ears they have, yet they are not hearing; a nose exist/absolutely, with no breath/spirit in their mouths.”

Though the word mouths in Hebrew is rare, they open, maybe, with ‘mouth’ in the singular because all the idols say the same thing: nothing.

When saying these verses, how can we help thinking, indeed, how silly it is to worship the work of human hands (Psalms 115:4, 135:15, Deuteronomy 4:28, Jeremiah 16:20). Atheists should easily not believe in idols. But those who do should have it easy to step over to worshipping a G^d beyond us.

However, on Pesach, I suddenly had a new idea (with examples):

  • G^d, He speaks (Genesis 1:3), but without using a mouth.
  • He looks (Genesis 1:4), but without using eyes.
  • He hears (Exodus 3:24), but without using ears.
  • He smells (Leviticus 1:9), but without using a nose.
  • He does much handiwork (Genesis 2:8), but without using hands.
  • He walks (Genesis 3:8), but without using legs.
  • He say plenty (so much!), but without using a throat.
  • He has a spirit/breath (Genesis 1:2, 2:7), but sans a nose or mouth. (It does say He spoke ‘mouth to mouth’ with Moses (Numbers 12:8), but that can’t be taken literally because then it should say that they spoke ‘mouths to ears.’ Compare Deuteronomy 34:10.)

Idols have outer organs, but don’t have the functions. G^d doesn’t use organs but has the functions. With G^d, it’s double the opposite of idols.

This simple insight is so obvious. It was hiding in plain sight. As G^d does.

Isru Chag Sameiach, Happy Mimunah!

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to two Dutch survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork, and holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam). He taught Re-evaluation Co-counseling, became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His most influential teachers (chronologically) are: his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim: Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. * Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years, he wrote hasbara for the Dutch public. His fields of attention now are varied: Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (statistics), Politics (Israel, the US and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight Truth), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), Ecology and Veganism. Sometimes he's misunderstood because he has such a wide vision that never fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what many love about him. Many of his posts relate to affairs from the news or the Torah Portion of the Week or are new insights that suddenly befell him. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, reassure the doubters but make the self-assured doubt more. He strives to bring a fresh perspective rather than bore you with the obvious. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds must be disputed. In short, his main political positions are: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, democracy, anti the fake peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, Science, Free Will, anti blaming-the-victim and for down-to-earth optimism. Read his blog how he attempts to bridge any discrepancies. He admits sometimes exaggerating to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second-generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. November 13, 2018, he published his 500th blog post with the ToI. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having a peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To find his earlier blog posts on a certain subject XXX, among his over 1200 ones, go to the right-top corner of the Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". His second daily active less tame blog, to which one may subscribe, one may find here: or by clicking on the globe icon next to his picture on top. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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