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

Chanukah, Purim, the home, and G^d behind the scenes

The home is at the center of Judaism, not the synagogue

No Place Like Home

Joseph requests (Genesis 40:14) to get him out of this home. But he was in a pit, one of Egypt’s jails (Genesis 40:15). He calls it home to signal that he doesn’t want to be free because he feels terrible in prison. Mandela avant la lettre wants to leave because he understands he has not yet used all his talents to further G^d’s plan. But his use of the word home is also a hint towards Chanukah—the Jewish Festival mostly connected to the home.

The synagogue functions as the Temple in miniature but the home (Bayit) is named like G^d’s Temple on the Temple Mount (Har haBayit).

On the right, when entering a Jewish home/room, we find the mezuzah. It’s on the right doorpost so that men entering read: Shema’: listen. A hint at “Whatever Sarah tells you, heed her voice” (Genesis 21:12). The woman is the head of the household. When we leave, it reads: Ayin Sham: There’s an Eye there (Mishnah Avot 2:1). Don’t sin; we’re watched from Heaven.

But the Chanukiah stands left of the door. When we enter, it says: Ro’ay: Look [but shut up]. When we leave it says: Or: May light be on your path.


I don’t know about you, but when I read the Joseph story, I’m reminded of the Esther story of Purim. There are so many ‘coincidences’ that it can’t be a coincidence anymore. Those who want can clearly see G^d’s Hidden Hand, the Miracles behind the scenes. The Weekly Reading of Mikaytz mostly falls on Chanukah, the Festival known for its miracles. The Rabbis suggest that, each time it says King in the Scroll of Ester, it’s also hinting at the King of kings of kings. Is there such a word in the story of Joseph?

In Mikaytz, the word Echad appears thirteen times. G^d is called Echad all over the place (based on Deuteronomy 6:4). (In the reading for Chanukah it appears 5 times; in the reading for Rosh Chodesh it shows up 4 times.) G^d has Thirteen Facets of Mercy (Exodus 34:6-7).

Echad hints at G^d being the Only One. But the Hebrew doesn’t read Only (Yachid). (Why it says Echad and not Reeshon is a long story I explain elsewhere.) It means that G^d was First, before Creation. He’s first but there is no second (‘Adon ‘Olam). He is first and last (Mishnah Avot 5:7).

The two Rabbinic Festivals center around G^d’s hidden powers and His love for us. A message that was dearly needed in the Diaspora.

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. 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 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 1400 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: 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. * 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.
Related Topics
Related Posts