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

Define Chanukah in one phrase

The Jewish Festival celebrates victory over assimilation and proselytization

No, the essence is not channukiyah, menorah, light, olive oil, Jewish history, dreidels, sufganiyot, latkes, or music. I know: bummer.

Rather, Chanukah is the celebration of Jews’ victory over assimilation to and oppression by nearby Gentile culture and its attempt to un-Jew us.

Still, in our days, Coca-Cola can be kosher. But, be careful what part of foreign philosophy, lifestyle, and habits you adopt.

We were victorious under the Maccabees, over 2000 years of Diaspora repression, mass murder, and expulsion, but it’s an ongoing struggle.

We need to understand deeply how faulty any equation between pagan-Greek-Christian Christmas and anti-Hellenist, anti-Missionary Chanukah is.

A prominent example, unjustly deemed largely innocent, is the Olympics and (sports) competitions in general. And then, I’m not referring to violence or aggression that sometimes sneaks in. The whole concept of people contending and rivaling is so unhelpful and degrading. One wins, a couple almost win, and the rest are losers. Not so far removed from jealousy, keeping up with the Jones, and comparing oneself or others to perfecter ‘creatures.’ No, Jewish competition is against one’s self of yesterday. In that race, everyone can be a winner and cheer for everyone.

Gentiles should celebrate Chanukah by uniting with each other to redouble their efforts to learn from the Jews (No, not the false equivalence of “the Christian-Jewish dialogue”), stop missionary activity toward the Jews, and express remorse for all disrespect toward Jews in the past and present.

BTW: The world’s tallest channukiyah is too tall and, therefore, not kosher.

Let’s reveal hidden lights by listening to these in-depth lectures.

The Chanukah quiz

1. Which parts of the Joseph story could never have happened in Paradise?

What do the following events share, and what does it matter?

Jacob showed his extra love for Joseph (Genesis 37:3).

Because of this, his brothers envied him (Genesis 37:4).

They stripped Joseph (Genesis 37:23).

The brothers fabricated proof that Joseph had died (Genesis 37:31).

The brothers try to convince Jacob that Joseph had died (Genesis 37:32-3).

Reuben and Jacob showed their mourning (Genesis 37:29 and 37:34).

Tamar disguised herself (Genesis 38:14).

Judah gave Tamar three pieces of collateral (Genesis 38:18).

Tamar proves to Judah that he should take responsibility (Genesis 38:25).

The midwife ensured proof that Zerah was born first (Genesis 38:28-30).

His employer’s wife had faked that Joseph laid with her (Genesis 39:12-17).

Joseph was made ready to see Pharaoh (Genesis 41:14).

Joseph was readied to appear as viceroy (Genesis 41:42).

The brothers didn’t recognize Joseph (Genesis 42:7).

Joseph alleges his brothers seek Egypt’s nakedness (Genesis 42:9, 12).

The bros express shock at the goblet in Benjamin’s sack (Genesis 44:13).

Joseph gave his brothers clothing (Genesis 45:22).

In the future, Judah will go in red (Genesis 49:11).

–> These events have in common all kinds of articles of clothing.

2. Which two events repaired much of the above mess?

–> Adam and Eve walked around naked without shame. The shame came after the primordial sin. Joseph rather escaped naked than sin.

–> The brothers were jealous of Joseph getting the special tunic. But when Joseph gave Reuben five sets of clothes, they were done being jealous.

3. The Code of Jewish Law opens by telling us that all of Jewish life is meant to teach us to restrict ourselves. Seventeen-year-old Joseph rejects the advances of an old woman. That makes him our only Jewish ancestor who’s called a saint!? If not that, then what makes him such a tsaddik?

–> I would say that what stands out is that Joseph recognizes that G^d put him in this story, and he plays along. He doesn’t try to free himself from it, even when he’s sold as a slave and lands in jail. He doesn’t ruin the plot.

4. What clarity could Joseph’s story send to Israel’s politicians?

–> Perhaps Joseph’s story may show us that Joseph didn’t mess up G^d’s plan. Rabin tried to force a peace process which so far has only led to needless bloodshed. Fanatical right-wingers now try piecing together a government to try preemptive strikes on Arab nationalists endangering us down the line; if we’d let them, this too may lead to unnecessary carnage. Sometimes there is no (immediate) solution. Let’s not play the sorcerer’s apprentice. Go with the flow instead of trying to force the impossible.

Happy Chanukah!

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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