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

Bill Cosby’s conviction and the dichotomy of Good and Evil people

The man did a lot of good and the man did a lot of evil. How can we forget all the good? How can we forget all the evil?

Donald Trump is doing a lot of evil but he’s also doing a lot of good. How can we forget all the good? How can we forget all the evil?

(I know the difference: Bill got convicted already and Donald not yet.)

Must we trash the hurtful heroes? Could we celebrate them ever again?

This dilemma, I feel, stems from American-Christian culture that must divide people into Good and Evil. It’s an echo of the fundamentalist idea that there are two world Powers: G-d and Satan – a philosophy that Judaism rejects completely. The rabbis teach that the Devil is an Angel of G-d, doing His bidding only – for reasons the rabbis explain too – and there is only One Power in the world: G-d. They also clarify that the real struggle is not in Heaven (as the Greeks thought) – there is Peace there –  and not between Peoples or people, but rather: within ourselves.

Every day, we should confront our lazy side, fight our tendency to just go with the flow, dismiss our pull to seek comfort and numbness, and rise above what we were predicted to be all about – popularly called: use our Free Will.

In a way, there are no two types of people – besides people who divide people into two kinds and people who don’t. This is not to whitewash the wicked – read on.

In a way, we are all challenged, all called-upon to clean up our act. That is what people must mean when they say that we are all sinners. I prefer how the rabbis call it: all of us have a task in life, to perfect ourselves and the world.

Now, let it be clear: there are some deeds that are so beyond the pale that we cannot categorize their perpetrators with the rest of mankind anymore. They have lost their human face. Some others are and stay so dangerous that they should never be let free again.

But let it also be clear that there are not so many of them. Further, most big people have big temptations, the Talmud already cautions, so stop believing in the supermen of the big screen. (Did Hollywood promote these larger-than-life heroes to help the molesters in Hollywood stay unthinkable and invisible?)

By demanding perfect heroes, American culture creates unforgivable villains. If it would accept that we’re all flawed, alternatives open up.

(Also: its obsession with “successful” people is completely over the top. Make some place for admiring “less tremendous” people, like you and me, who didn’t amass wealth on the backs of others!)

First of all, people would not pretend and lie so much to seem perfect.

Secondly, once people have done their time, have paid for their transgressions – capital punishment is yet another primitiveness that is unfit for an elevated mind – have expressed remorse and asked for forgiveness, they should be reintegrated into the community, society.

Thirdly, for most transgressions, we do not need to dismiss a person – only a behavior – or past lives – especially after they paid their penalties, mended their ways, have expressed remorse and asked for forgiveness.

Contradiction solved. Except for very exceptional wicked deeds, most people can be redeemed after big mistakes. And in any case, their good acts, no matter how little, should be recognized – except when they were done to hurt. (The pedophile molester who starts and maintains an orphanage and sports club to select the kids to assault.)

Let Bill Crosby go to jail for ten years. Let his judgment be a warning to others and say that we as society cannot overlook this. But after that  and after he mended his ways, expressed remorse and asked for forgiveness, he can return to be part of society, and even play more good roles – if he distanced himself from his predatory behavior.

This especially, if he starts teaching about rape: that it is violence – not a type of sex, that the victim is always guiltless – stop blaming the victim and stop shaming yourself, that most rapes are done by people we know – not by strangers, that there is prevention and there is recovery – please seek help and join other survivors, etc.

And also, we can celebrate the good he did. Just like the Torah tells us, that after all the years of slavery in Egypt, Jews are not allowed to hate the Egyptians because after all, we were sustained in their land – even if only under the worst of conditions.


Happy Jerusalem day from Jerusalem!

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. * To find less-recent posts on subject XXX among his over 1550 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: * 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. * 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 (, 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.
Related Topics
Related Posts