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

How can we cry?

There are two different groups that need each their own approach.


Most people, if not out loud, at least in their hearts of hearts, have a lot to complain. About what hurts, what lacks, what stings, what was, what is, and what will be. We’ve all suffered a lot, and more is coming. Who can still hope? Who can still dream—among the nightmares?

To them, I want to say: It will get better, and the end will be good. Meanwhile, go cry about how hard it was and is.

We need some optimism to heal our hurts. Harvey Jackins called it: “It helps to have some dry ground under your feet to empty out the ocean.” It also helps to know that tears heal. No sober tears are shed for naught.


Some people are almost always grateful, happy, and optimistic. What’s there to cry for? It’ll all work out for the best. Death is going onto eternal life. Uninvited pain multiplies our meritoriousness by a factor thousand.

To them, I need to say: For a moment, don’t look so deep.

In our thrice daily Main Prayers, we ask G^d to look at our troubles and feel for us. Eve saw that the (forbidden) tree was good. Seeing is a superficial perception. Don’t contemplate and reason away our suffering. Just once a year, feel how bad it feels. G^d lets us feel this. Don’t ignore it. Think about all the lonely people. Think about all the suffering.

Climate change is going so badly that it could mean that Salvation will be only miraculously in the afterlife. That we’ll never meet in the flesh again.

Don’t just do something; sit there. And cry. Don’t be just sad. Cry. Sober, unsolicited tears heal and prevent that we age.

Why don’t we Say Tachanun This Sunday?

Sunday is not the semi-Festival of the Ninth of Av. It only has the fast of the ninth of Av. Just like in Jerusalem on Purim Meshulash, we say ‘Al Hanisim on Shabbat. That’s the actual Purim day. Other aspects of Purim we do before or after Shabbat.

Why don’t we then, likewise, omit Tzidkattechah on Shabbat because it’s the semi-Festival of 9 beAv and say Tachanun on Sunday because it’s not the semi-Festival?

Is this in order to not confuse the congregation: If next year, 9 beAv is not on Shabbat, that they won’t say: ‘But I remember we say Tachanun!’?

Maybe, a precedent for that could come from the time that the first of the Hebrew month was still determined by witness testimony in the Temple in Jerusalem. When on Friday night around sunset, far away from Jerusalem, someone would witness the first sliver of the new moon, he would travel to Jerusalem on Shabbat, even if he knew that there were other witnesses who went already. (Maybe their testimonies would not stand?) Why?

The answer is that he would travel despite all the Shabbat Injunctions so that in the future, on a weekday, no one who witnessed the new sliver of the moon would wrongly say: But we don’t travel so far to give testimony, just because they remember not traveling in the past but forgot that that would have been because of Shabbat, not because of the distance.

So, I asked my Rabbi and friend. But he answered me differently:

When the Ninth of Av falls on Shabbat, the fast is transferred to Sunday. But, this is not only a substitute day. The tenth itself could have been the main semi-Festival and Fast day since most of the destruction of the Temple actually took place on the tenth. (Hence, some mourning practices continue onto the tenth in a regular year). The ninth was chosen because the beginning of the destruction was deemed more significant.

Therefore, when, like this year, we actually fast on the tenth of Av, it assumes some laws as if it is the actual Fast day. And it is therefore that we don’t say Tachanun when the fast is on the tenth of Av.

By the way, this Shabbat, we don’t say Tzidkattechah at the Shabbat Afternoon Prayers, both because it precedes the Fast day and because it’s the Ninth of Av itself.

Gut Shabbos. May the heat and the fast be kind to you.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, an almost daily blog contributor to the Times of Israel, and previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. 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. * As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. He doesn't believe that people observe and think in a vacuum. He, therefore, wanted a broad bio that readers interested can track a bit about what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and education contribute to his visions. * To find less-recent posts on subject XXX among his over 1600 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, here: * Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. Yet, 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 who don't deserve that. 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), 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. * 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. * 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. 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, anti-elitism, anti-bigotry and supremacy, for Zionism, Intersectionality, and 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. * He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to 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. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. * 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, empowering therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids non-violently. 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 being a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. He lives with his library in Jerusalem. Feel free to contact him. * His writing has been made possible by a (second-generation) Holocaust survivors' allowance 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.
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