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

Between being prompt and patient, comprehensive and calm in Jewish Law

Challenging our laziness, rebelliousness, impatience, and argumentativeness

Prompt and Comprehensive

Doing something with Zereezut is often translated or interpreted as fast. My teacher told me that’s incorrect. It means promptly. To hurry to do something as soon as that action is proper. When there is a danger to a limb or life, we jump into action without any detour. Any ritual or activity that normally would be in order is superseded by such an emergency.

Zereezut also implies completeness, doing the Commandments constantly, all of them, reliably dedicated to all their details.

To pray with Zereezut then means at the earliest times, every time, devoted to all the details, and not hastily.

There could be reasons to delay our actions. We could decide to buy Arba’ Meeneem last minute to get a more beautiful set for a price we can afford. But we need to watch it that postponement doesn’t result in annulment.

Postponing till the last minute to do what we are commanded to do is fine for the Letter of the Law but it is imperfect. It lacks Zereezut. Delaying until the last minute is a mild form of rebellion to assert our autonomy. It can also express resentment and disgust with this life. When we take upon ourselves baseless happiness, basic eagerness will follow more easily.

Patient and Calm

But not waiting until the proper time has arrived is not correct either. Blowing the shofar already on Tisha beAv, shows you’re crazy, not a saint. Bringing in the Havdalah candle before the end of Shabbat shows disrespect for the Shabbat’s concluding minutes and is a real sin (Muktze).

When we get an Aliyah to the Torah reading, we take the shortest path to the Bimah to show our eagerness. But we don’t get up there while the previous co-reader is not finished yet. There is no place for impatience.

But, Savlanut is not just having patience. It also implies calmness, a lack of stress. You know that everything is OK, so you approach everything calmly.

So, we don’t don our Talleet before we end the Blessing over it. We don’t cut the Challah in two before we finished the Blessing over it.

We don’t rush our loved ones for a lack patience. We sometimes listen to them as if we have all the time in the world and if there is nothing more important in the whole world for us to do—which is easily true. (When our kids always say ‘but,’ we tell them we must leave now when they still have plenty of time to object. When we must hurry them, we tell them we are sorry, promise them to listen to them later, and then apologize too.)

Amen

When we say Amen to a formal, proper Blessing before the last Letter was said, the punishment is that the end of our lives will be hastened too.

When we say Amen to a formal Blessing too late, it becomes orphaned, and the punishment is that our kids and students become orphans faster.

When we say Amen to a proper, formal Blessing too loudly, too softly, or not at all, we are punished for disagreeing with the text of the Blessing.

When a Chazzan goes on to say the next Blessing without waiting for the community to respond with Amen, no one should respond Amen. Amen is our medicine against disagreeing with everyone and everything. You can’t shout a proper Amen in disagreement.

But, I think, that when you hear someone make a proper Blessing but in a sad voice, you can connect to their deepest Soul and say with its intention a happy Amen in agreement with its positive mindset.

***

Judaism is a very demanding lifestyle. Not difficult or impossible, Moses tells us, but labor-some yes. And a heavy responsibility. But, meant to have us develop a perfect character, including being industrious and patient.

When we are looking for a partner, the quality we should prioritize is character. Someone with fine traits, committed to perfecting them.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, an almost daily blog contributor to the Times of Israel, and previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. 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. * As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. He doesn't believe that people observe and think in a vacuum. He, therefore, wanted a broad bio that readers interested can track a bit about what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and education contribute to his visions. * If you don't know the Dutch, get an American peek behind the scenes here: https://youtu.be/QMPp6h6r72M * To find less-recent posts on subject XXX among his over 1600 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, here: https://mmvanzuiden.wordpress.com/. * Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. Yet, 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 who don't deserve that. 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), 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. * 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. * 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. 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, anti-elitism, anti-bigotry and supremacy, for Zionism, Intersectionality, and 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. * He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (https://diethylstilbestrol.co.uk/studies/des-and-psychological-health/), born in 1953 to 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. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. * 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, empowering therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids non-violently. 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 being a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. He lives with his library in Jerusalem. Feel free to contact him. * His writing has been made possible by a (second-generation) Holocaust survivors' allowance 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.
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