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

Explaining Orthodox-Jewish morality without twists

Let’s go through several issues.

What Happened?

Just imagined I’d return from a lecture by Prof. Einstein. He just clarified his Relativity Theory to me and I got it. And then you ask me: Was he wearing a tie? That’s not an evil question. But it’s utterly irrelevant.

G^d tells us how he created the Universe, humans included. And then you ask: Did it happen like that? That is so irrelevant. He doesn’t teach what happened. He’s teaching morality which is (kind of) beyond science. If He wanted us to know what happened, He’d say: study history, psychology, science, and the philosophy of science, eat your greens, and notice your findings, and you might figure it out. (Evil is an overall excess of pain.)

Problem is that by the time we will begin to figure out morality from life and science, we’re probably 90 years old. And then it’s often hard to be flexible enough to implement our findings while we’re only beginning to understand it. So, as long as we haven’t stopped death, we need a ton of truth, wisdom, and morality to assist us to lead us toward a moral life.

Meanwhile, doctors are racing toward understanding, healing, and then preventing all major illnesses, aging, and ‘natural’ death itself. That won’t help a lot if we’d still murder ourselves (addictions) and murder others (hatred, selfishness, jealousy, supremacy, nationalism, etc.).

So, G^d gives us a preview of what we’d conclude at our 300th birthday. He’s not possessive or controlling about it. If you’d prefer another moral compilation to help you gain morals as days go by, so be it. Only, after we proved that we couldn’t handle His advice, He picked one People to teach everyone. If you’re Jewish, follow the Jewish script. You’ll see: good stuff.

What Teachers?

However, we need teachers to help us decipher the Torah, Talmud, and later writings. They must be more than honest, smart, and nice. They must be all-round moral. You can’t learn ethics from an immoral person. If they had very moral parents and teachers, they could get there faster. But, even such a life doesn’t leave a person unchallenged. We each have our struggles to become all-round ethical.

And even when we find such teachers, if they speak a language we don’t, we depend on the honesty, smartness, wisdom, and level of morality of their interpreters.

And if they are not alive anymore, we need to rely on the ethical fitness of their editors and publishers.

We don’t need a twist of immorality from ourselves, or our teachers, or their interpreters, or their publishers. We need our own brains to tell the difference between truth and fake. Being very honest is the first step.

When?

We have no second to lose. We must become more moral or we make the whole quest for immortality useless. What use is it to be able to prevent and cure all illnesses and aging when we just kill each other off at unprecedented efficiency?

You can soothe yourself with some idea that life and death belong together, that the goal of life is to die, that it’s meant to be or is natural. I never bought that. And I’ll tell you more: Quintessential progress will not come from people who believe that kind of pacifiers.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (https://diethylstilbestrol.co.uk/studies/des-and-psychological-health/), born in 1953 to two Dutch survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork, and holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam). He taught Re-evaluation Co-counseling, became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. 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 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. * Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years, he wrote hasbara for the Dutch public. His fields of attention now are varied: Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (statistics), Politics (Israel, the US and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight Truth), 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), Ecology and Veganism. Sometimes he's misunderstood because he has such a wide vision that never fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what many love about him. Many of his posts relate to affairs from the news or the Torah Portion of the Week or are new insights that suddenly befell him. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, reassure the doubters but make the self-assured doubt more. He strives to bring a fresh perspective rather than bore you with the obvious. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds must be disputed. In short, his main political positions are: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, democracy, anti the fake peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, Science, Free Will, anti blaming-the-victim and for down-to-earth optimism. Read his blog how he attempts to bridge any discrepancies. He admits sometimes exaggerating 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. * 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. November 13, 2018, he published his 500th blog post with the ToI. 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 a peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To find his earlier blog posts on a certain subject XXX, among his over 1200 ones, go to the right-top corner of the Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". His second daily active less tame blog, to which one may subscribe, one may find here: https://mmvanzuiden.wordpress.com/ or by clicking on the globe icon next to his picture on top. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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