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

Being nice, not to improve relationships but as their essence of them

Maybe being nice is not the icing on the cake but the cake itself.

When I lived in the Netherlands, there were two valid grounds for firing a worker who worked well. 1. The job had become redundant. That meant you could not hire someone else (younger, cheaper, sexier) for the same work! 2. Spoiling the sphere at work. Really. Employers and employees were beholden to being decent with each other. You didn’t have to love each other or even agree (Asking subordinates for their opinion was the normal course of action.), but respect for the person was a must. My boss, leaving for the rest of the week, would say: “I leave the whole firm to you and have a pleasant weekend.” One reason why being friendly is so important there is that the Dutch are brutally honest, to the point that others sometimes think it’s rude. This now has further evolved. Screaming at personnel is now pure abuse (‘grensoverschrijdend gedrag’ = boundary violations) and costs people their jobs! Being merely human is no excuse.

I worked for American employers. One was absolutely wonderful. What a beautiful person. Laidback, friendly. But all the others were like slave drivers, and probably for a ‘good’ historical reason. Slavery has ended in the US, but the mentality did not. As a worker, you should feel grateful that he gave you the job because he could (and might) give it to someone else whenever he wanted. You weren’t giving him your labor; he was giving you employment. They had Human Resources, where the boss could ask for more workers. (In the Netherlands, that department is called Personnel Issues.) You were made to feel worthless. I remember one boss who had very protective bylaws about non-discrimination on the work floor. Yet, each employee clearly had no value at all. And no matter how many blessings I have given them (good morning, good Shabbos, pleasant holidays, etc.), the only response I ever got was a fake: How are you?


Let’s face it. Many people are not nice most of the time. Why?

Some are afraid they won’t be taken seriously.

Some are all about themselves.

Some say they can’t be nice in a world no one is.

Some think they are nice when they feel the other is nice to them.

Some don’t see the problem.

Some think it would breed anarchy.

Some think it’s too Gay/effeminate to be nice.

Some think nice is insignificant.

Some don’t see the point.

Some think it’s a waste of energy.

Some don’t think about the option.

Some think they ARE nice.

Some think they’re too tired to be nice.

Some people think fake niceness is enough.

Some people think they’re too selfish to be nice.

Some are only nice when they want something from another.

Many mind others being unfriendly, but they’re lenient about themselves.

How can you be nice when you don’t feel it? Fake it? No, dishonesty is the other plague of our day. No, be nice, mean it, and then the feelings come.

Nice people have the best lives. To smile at someone, to be considerate, and to give, are all the best ways to receive. Yet, you don’t need to give to receive. You can give because it’s a proper expression of who you are.

Bonus: When many people are nice, the world will get better.

True: with some aggressive people, being nice makes it worse. (Don’t try this at home.) But they are the exceptions that confirm the rule.

Many women know this. Yet, often, they’re not told to be nice to themselves first.

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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