Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews

G^d does not need our love

Please forgive me if I sound a bit upset. I just read an article on the Internet from an Orthodox rabbi from a giant congregation in the US whom I don’t follow and don’t know. And it says such nonsense.

It actually sounds just like Christianity. Not that sounding like a Christian is something bad — for a Christian. But an Orthodox rabbi writing like that?

If I understood him well, he wants us to love G^d. G^d doesn’t need us to follow Jewish Law because He only gave the Commandments to help us love Him. Who needs Christian missionaries with a rabbi like that?

No! G^d doesn’t need our love either. Is that hard to grasp? But if the choice is between us following Jewish Law and loving G^d, G^d wants the former. The Sages (Midrash Lamentations Rabbah on Jeremiah 16:11) explain that G^d opines: “I wish they would leave Me but keep My Torah” (הלואי אותי עזבו ותורתי שמרו). (The opposites of what Christians do.)

Jewish Law gives us a good life and a good afterlife. How G^d, Who loves us, could not want us to have those, is beyond me. I’m baffled how a dati rabbi could reduce Judaism to: just give your heart to Jesus oops G^d.

Orthodox Judaism has a whole range of opinions and as a Dutch person I have no trouble being tolerant to opinions different from mine. Yet, some things just got to be outside of the pale of Judaism.

The rabbi also mentions that G^d is not the punishing Type. He loves us.

Well, the Rabbis teach us that G^d is thousands of times more loving than strict. But Divine Punishment is a must too (Maimonides’ 13 Principles).

Fear of Heaven doesn’t mean that one should be terrified of G^d — He loves us. But we don’t do away with Awe of G^d altogether either. Fear of Heaven is like a safety belt. It should not stop you from breathing but it should stop you from getting into trouble in a rash moment.

This modification too sounds like the old anti-Judaism as if Christians pray to a G^d of love and Jews should stop worshipping their bloodthirsty god.

(Echoes of which I detect in the headline of a news report yesterday that falsely claimed that PM Netanyahu said that if the rockets keep coming, we’ll hit back ‘with no mercy.’ This, while actually the random rockets at our population are a war crime and a crime against humanity and the IDF is extremely careful to cause as little collateral damage as possible.)

I’m not a rabbi but I love Jews too. Please don’t follow such things or such rabbis until they come to their (Jewish) senses again. If he is a wonderful human being, please distinguish between that and any warped philosophy.

I tried to track down this rabbi. I found a long YouTube clip entitled “Judaism on Christianity with Rabbi Efrem Goldberg” but that has nothing of the above article. It is almost boring how traditional, common, and good this is. Though it seems removed from his synagogue’s website. I reached out to the rabbi for comments but even in several days, he didn’t respond. This could very well be another rabbi by the same, popular, rabbinic name.

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 lehavdiel 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, GLBTQAI, 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 quit 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 500st 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. * NEW: To see other blog posts by him, his overspill blog you can reach by clicking on the Website icon next to his picture at the head of every post. There you may find precursors to later TOI blog posts, addition or corrections of published TOI blog posts, blog posts the TOI will not carry and some thoughts that are too short to be a TOI blog post. Also, the TOI only allows for one blog post per blogger per 24 hours. Sometimes, he has more to say than that. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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