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

Giving and receiving

All of life is a great mystery (if not a tragedy) when we don’t know why we exist. The best idea I heard is from the Sages telling us that G^d wants to be as generous as can be and that is by creating a creature that has free will and who can through effort be meritorious.

G^d is called generous because He gives all that we deserve. That doesn’t sound generous but rather just. However, He gives according to our feelings after the good deed. Often beforehand, we don’t feel like it, but afterward, we’re glad we did it. (Never regret a good deed because that wipes out its virtue.)

The Sages recommend not to serve G^d as a slave who serves his master to get rewarded. It might be G^d’s intention to reward us but that’s His concern. We don’t need to check up on His bookkeeping.

Meritorious and wicked deeds don’t cancel out before the Heavenly Court. The former gets rewarded, the latter one gets cleansed of.

The Sages also tell us that the [best] reward for a good deed is that you got to do a good deed. How good to have been honest, respectful, optimistic, raising the next generation, etc. Do we really need a price on top of that?

The famous Rabbi Dessler writes that all of Judaism is meant to turn a baby who knows how to receive into a grownup who knows how to give.

It’s all a gift. I think that you can’t be called religious if you’re not grateful or say ‘thank you’ all the time.

Happy are those who are satisfied with their lot. The rich never have enough because who has 50 wants 100, who has 100 wants 200, etc. Not only is it never enough; the more one has, the more one lacks.

We look most godly when we give. We need nothing special to give. It costs nothing to smile, give a hug, nod, say sorry or thank you, or listen. Don’t be too timid to request, but don’t demand, any of those things.

The greatest gift we get is what we feel when we give freely.

The best part of giving is not receiving in return (that’s just an investment). The best is not even to give to have another receive. A better argument to give is because you want the world to be a place of generosity. The best reason to give is that it’s the highest expression of you.

The greatest thing in the world is to do someone else a favor.

To enable someone to harm themselves is not generous. Offer a junkie a good meal instead of money to buy more drugs.

Partners who both freely give what the other needs, each live in Paradise. Buddies who try to take as much as they need, each never have enough.

Most of us who receive will be eager to return a favor. But not all people.

And kids must be expected to chip in to get the brainpower to see others and their needs and not become selfish brats.

If you have not taken upon yourself a long-term commitment to support and guide younger people than yourself, you don’t know what is giving.

Life is not giving and taking; it’s giving and receiving.

What can I do today to make your life more wonderful?

If I don’t take care of me, who should do that instead? If I only take care of me, what do I live for? If I’d postpone this, until when exactly?

When we partner with G^d to complete Creation, He will let us accomplish the impossible and let us get all the credit.

We can accomplish anything if we team up with others, if needed over many generations. Important new things cannot be done without making mistakes. No setback can prove that now all is lost.

Each of us can choose our purpose to live for. We have all the basic talents we need to accomplish that. When we progress toward our self-chosen goal, we get very happy. We only need to do what makes us very happy.

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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