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

An eye for an eye, Jewish revenge or mercy?

Is the G^d of the OT One of hatred and of the NT just about compassion?

It’s the oldest foundation of hatred of Jews. Depict them and their ‘Old Testament’ as cruel and the New Testament as a book of love.

The Christian Bible ‘supports’ this libel referring to ‘An eye for an eye.’

Now, the Hebrew Bible doesn’t say ‘An eye for an eye’ at all! It says ayeen tachat ayeen. Ayeen is an eye. Tachat means (depending on context): 1. Under, at a lower place, and 2. Instead of, in place of.

So, the real text (Exodus 21:24, Leviticus 24:20) is an eye in place of an eye.

Now, you can’t replace someone’s eye, so instead, you must pay so that it becomes as much as possible as if you didn’t take out someone’s eye: for pain, for medical costs, and for lost earning potential the rest of his life!

When we study Torah in depth, we should ask why the Torah uses tachat for under as it has bimkom yoter namuch (in a lower place). Perhaps, namuch (lower) is not such a polite word. And why does the Torah use here tachat for in place of as it has bimkom (instead of)?

Well, Maimonides already explained these verses could be misunderstood to mean you’re fine when you financially compensate the victim. Rather, misread that you deserve to have your eye taken out too, so you realize you did something terrible. So, you must also ensure that he forgives you.

All this, the Oral Torah already explained thousands of years ago. It didn’t stop haters of Jews from portraying us as vengeful while preaching they’re for turning the other cheek (Matthew 5:38-9, Luke 29). Unfortunately, Jews felt for thousands of years firsthand how much that is a dead letter.

The Torah and Jewish Law are very finely calibrated to how saintly humans could be. Advocating too lofty ideals, as Christianity tends to do, or seeing G^d as too stern, as often also in Islam, both backfire into bloodshed.

These two ‘cheeky’ sections aren’t the only anti-Jewish verses in Christian Scripture. Yet, Judaism holds that Monotheistic religions should be praised for teaching humanity Jewish ideas such as One G^d, Reward and Penalty, the Messiah, etc. Clearly, religions usually teach people ethics. Still, all of them need to clean up their past and beliefs. Yet, that’s their problem.

Many Jews, even Israeli religious ones who speak Hebrew, read these texts the faulty Christian way. A rendering they don’t agree with, but they don’t know how to defend themselves against this slander of the Torah. So sad.

BTW: Every verse on capital punishment in the Torah must be read in context. I don’t mean the context of the surrounding text or of the time the Torah was given but in the context of to whom it was given. Jews, as the Mishna tells us, are averse to murder. We still see that today in Israel’s war for survival. When Anti-Zionists are furious, they may kill random Jews. When Jews get beyond themselves they may shoot at solar panels or empty cars. Neither violence is OK, but there is a difference. The purpose of capital punishment in the Torah is to teach Jews that not all wickedness is equal. But the Talmud explains the task of the judges was to find ways to exonerate the accused. It even states that a court that executes more than one person in 70 years is a bunch of murderers! If he was guilty after all, G^d can kill him, and we don’t need to. It was also meant to deter, but that doesn’t work anymore already for 2000 years, so this option is on ice.

Speaking of murderers, honor killings are so not part of Jewish life. If anything, we need to keep our quest for receiving honor to the absolute minimum. Humility is the bedrock of greatness, and pride is often deadly.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, previously a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He often makes his readers laugh, mad, or assume he's nuts—close to perfect blogging. He's proud that his analytical short comments are removed both from left-wing and right-wing news sites. None of his content is generated by the new bore on the block, AI. * As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. Or not at all because he doesn't claim G^d talks to him. He gives him good ideas—that's all. MM doesn't believe that people observe and think in a vacuum. He, therefore, wanted a broad bio that readers interested can track a bit what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and educations contribute to his visions. * This year, he will prioritize getting his unpublished books published rather than just blog posts. Next year, he hopes to focus on activism against human extinction. To find less-recent posts on a subject XXX among his over 2000 archived ones, go to the right-top corner of a Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". One can find a second, wilder blog, to which one may subscribe too, here: or by clicking on the globe icon next to his picture on top. * Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. However, if you think those are his absolute top priorities, you might end up disappointed. His first loyalty is to the truth. He will try to stay within the limits of democratic and Jewish law, but he won't lie to support opinions or people when don't deserve that. (Yet, we all make honest mistakes, which is just fine and does not justify losing support.) He admits that he sometimes exaggerates 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. * Sometimes he's misunderstood because his wide and diverse field of vision seldomly fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what some love about him. He has written a lot about Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (including basic statistics), Politics (Israel, the US, and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight reality), 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), the Climate Crisis, Ecology and Veganism, Affairs from the news, or the Torah Portion of the Week, or new insights that suddenly befell him. * Chronologically, his most influential teachers 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. This short list doesn't mean to disrespect others who taught him a lot or a little. One of his rabbis calls him Mr. Innovation [Ish haChidushim]. Yet, his originalities seem to root deeply in traditional Judaism, though they may grow in unexpected directions. In fact, he claims he's modernizing nothing. Rather, mainly basing himself on the basic Hebrew Torah text, he tries to rediscover classical Jewish thought almost lost in thousands of years of stifling Gentile domination and Jewish assimilation. (He pleads for a close reading of the Torah instead of going by rough assumptions of what it would probably mean and before fleeing to Commentaries.) This, in all aspects of life, but prominently in the areas of Free Will, Activism, Homosexuality for men, and Redemption. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, and disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. He aims to bring a fresh perspective rather than harp on the obvious and familiar. When he can, he loves to write encyclopedic overviews. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds should be disputed. In short, his main political positions are among others: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, anti those who abuse democratic liberties, anti the fake ME peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, pro-Science, pro-Free Will, anti-blaming-the-victim, and for down-to-earth, classical optimism, and happiness. Read his blog on how he attempts to bridge any tensions between those ideas or fields. * He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to his parents who were Dutch-Jewish Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork. He grew up a humble listener. It took him decades to become a speaker too, and decades more to admit to being a genius. But his humility was his to keep. And so was his honesty. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. He hopes to bring new things and not just preach to the choir. * He holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam) – is half a doctor. He practices Re-evaluation Co-counseling since 1977, is not an official teacher anymore, and became a friendly, powerful therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years, he was active in hasbara to the Dutch-speaking public. 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 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. 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 an original peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me. * His newest books you may find here:
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