Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
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Examples showing the Torah presents what we see, not a theoretical analysis

Especially the Creation Story sounds like a story written down by someone totally deaf. The seas don’t fizz or roar. The birds don’t chirp or twitter. The animals don’t moo or howl. Even the humans don’t make a peep.

More than that, there are many indications that impressions things make count more than how we could intellectually analyze things.

NB: We all understand the Creation Story isn’t a recipe for how to create the world. Yet, it is often treated and translated like that. That’s so silly. Rather, the Creation story tells two things. 1. G^d created everything. And, 2. All we see is ordered and in harmony. This harmony points at a Creator. So, it presents how Creation was set up to work, not how it was done.

And G^d said

No one was ever closer to G^d than Moses. No moment they were closer than in the Holies of Holiest. There, the Torah records that G^d spoke ‘to him’ twice. Our prime Commentator, Rashi, explains this ‘to him’ to mean to Himself. G^d was talking to Himself while Moses was overhearing Him.

So, G^d was not directly addressing Moses. Even him, in the holiest place in the world, He let only overhear Him. All the more so, G^d must have only spoken to Himself with any other Prophet or creature overhearing Him. So, when G^d said … in the Creation Story, He was talking to Himself. The Universe may have overheard Him but not more.

This way, we can easily grasp all the double references. He said to Himself: There should be light. And then, He created all the different types of light.


The Torah lists bats among the birds. But bats are mammals.

Surely, the Jews receiving the Torah knew that. But this is not classifying animals biologically. ‘Birds’ is a bad translation. It rather lists flying animals.

The Sun and the Moon

The Torah describes the Sun and the Moon as [equally] great heavenly bodies. Then it speaks about the greater one and the smaller one. The Rabbis explain that the Moon went to the Creator and complained: You can’t have two captains on one ship. That’s not fair. G^d agreed and since the Moon came, He made it smaller. And, He made it more important by letting it shine by night—the most spiritual part of the day. (In fact, He made it not just smaller; He also makes it wax and wane, be in constant flux, reflecting (pun intended) human history.) And G^d asks the Jews to bring a monthly animal sacrifice for Him as atonement for His ‘mistake.’

Now, talking about this world, how can one believe that G^d made the Moon smaller? G^d may do anything so we can believe anything, but we know that G^d prefers not to upset the natural world.

The answer is that the Jews who received the Torah already knew that the Sun is many times larger than the Moon. They knew astronomy. But that’s not the issue. The Torah doesn’t care about what is but about what things looks like. As follows. With a (total) solar eclipse, the Moon slowly slides in front of the Sun. When it’s about to cover all of the Sun, there is a tiny bit still uncovered. There is a thin ring of light around the Moon except for a small area from where a big beam of light still reaches our eyes. In a few moments, it will cover that too. It looks like a ring with a giant stone. It’s called the signet ring effect. But then it happens. As the Moon begins to block that beam, on the tail end of the picture, a new beam emerges. The ‘stone’ now sits on the Moon’s opposite rim. That means that the Moon can’t completely eclipse the Sun. Now, had the Moon been a tiny bit closer to Earth, it would have. And that is meant by G^d made the Moon smaller. He made it look smaller when He widened its path around Earth a little.

Black Light

At first, G^d created all the different forms of light. The Rabbis say that, in the Torah, darkness is also a creation—it is not just an absence of light. After all, the Prophet says (Isaiah 45:7): He shapes light (from stuff already there) and creates darkness (out of thin air). No one can understand what this black light (as different from artificial ultraviolet light) means on a simple level. Unless one knows the basics of how the eye is built, that is.

The eye is not as primitive as an electric camera. The retina is part of the brain; the eye ‘nerve’ is a brain pathway between the retina and the rest of the brain. Ten layers of nerve cells process light that reaches the receptors.

The eye has two types of receptors. Those able to say light (and darkness, we shall soon see) by shallow light, and those who can call three different wavelength (and their opposites) by high-intensity light integrating the three basic colors into all the colors of the visible-light spectrum.

It says that G^d created light. No colors yet. When receptors in the eye are hit with a dim light shape, they indicate light and no-darkness: two kinds of signals. Immediately look away at a white surface and you see the light shape in black! The same works for color receptors. Look at a bright red light, then look away at a white surface and you see an ‘imprint’ of the light in green. The eye also creates another type of contrast. When light falls on the retina, the cells around the receptors ‘seeing’ the light become active too. They suppress that light reception. They form a black contour line around the light shape. This contrast makes it easier to see faint light.

In faint light, the eye creates white light and black light. It’s not about what is but about what humans see.

The Sky and the Land

The fifth letter of the Hebrew Alphabet is often a prefix to a noun meaning the thing just mentioned. It’s commonly translated as ‘the.’ But, the first verse of the Torah says G^d created [the] Heaven and [the] Earth, as it is commonly translated. Yet, no one talked about either before. Which the-s?

Truth is, this doesn’t talk about what was said but about what we see. The fifth letter in the first verse means this or that. It’s not about our Planet Earth and the Universe. It simply says G^d created all of this sky (as we see it now) and all of this land (as we see it now). Fancy translations aren’t always correct. Generally, they are wrong: more fancy than translations.

It was Dusk, and it was Dawn

It was evening, and it was morning: one day. That’s how it’s commonly translated. It doesn’t add up (pardon the pun). An evening and a morning don’t form a complete day. They span a complete night. But, this too is a mistranslation. You can’t see a morning or an evening.

The word translated as evening is literally mixture. Light and darkness mixed. The English has dusk, twilight, nightfall, sunset. That one can see. The word rendered morning is related to the word for livestock with their light and dark patches. Again, darkness and light mingle. In English, one says dawn, daybreak, sun-up, sunrise. That you may see. They too function as pars-pro-toto for the half day that follows. Daybreak and the following daytime plus nightfall and the night that follows, that is one complete day.

Eve Saw that the Tree

When G^d looks at something, so to speak, He gives it more strength. But the more Eve looked at the forbidden tree, the stronger her sense that she wanted to eat from it. It reads that she saw that the tree was good to eat.

Jews Conduct Themselves Like That

Jewish Law rules like this. Microscopical animals are kosher—they are not there. The Sun rises, and the Sun sets—those we know that it’s really the Earth turning. We care about perception.

However, honesty is prime. The Rabbis warn us to be honest. That means that we should not show ourselves differently from who we are. Don’t pretend to be a saint while your standards do not match that (yet).

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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