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

How survivors can speak of beauty and purpose, love and peace, hope and gratefulness

Modern mural of Anne Frank in Amsterdam
Modern mural of Anne Frank in Amsterdam

I’m going to explain now, one of the greatest miracles of our times. People are often afraid that logic and reason would destroy the mystique, explain away the miracle but that’s not true. We know presently better than ever before how a man and a woman can create a baby. But does anyone holding a newborn say: “Yuck, just hormones, DNA and enzymes”? Quite the opposite! The more details we know about Nature, the more awestruck we become. And the more we want to protect her.

(Maybe we may find support for this in Sayings of the Fathers 3:11, that someone who stops learning Torah and marvels at a tree or other fine creature foregoes his life. It’s fine to enjoy beauty but not by stopping to learn deeply. Life itself would become meaningless and cease.)

On top of that, when we understand a miracle, we can communicate it better, faster. Nothing spreads as well as good news with an explanation.

By last point of introduction, one can’t explain away miracles because they keep coming. So much so that Rabbi Cardozo half-jokes that G^d makes an extra effort to keep non-believers from becoming religious or everyone would turn to religion with the present rate of miracles. He also shows that miracles are not the negation of natural law. They can be 100 percent mundanely caused. Rather, we’re awed by their timing and rarity.

Miracles Generated by Humans Who Faced Evil

Many people have wondered out-loud how parents of children murdered by terrorists can speak at their funerals of beauty and purpose, love and peace, hope and gratefulness, unity and generosity. Where do they find this strength? How come they’re not too destroyed to say anything? From where comes this holy higher angelic vision they speak of?

A quite similar wonderment comes over us when we listen to the visions and passions, goals and motivations of many Holocaust survivors. Eli Wiesel became famous for this supernatural voice but he was certainly not an exception. We marvel at the words by Anne Frank, who didn’t survive but still, facing mass murder at the hands of anti-Semites, stayed completely normal and on top of that wrote of tolerance, love and hope.

What made people who personally faced the greatest Hell on Earth become so moral, ethical, elevated, sublime? We would understand if they yelled revenge. We would not condemn if they sounded bitter and disillusioned. And some might. But many have not. How? I will tell you.

When almost everything has been taken from you but life itself; when you looked Evil in the eye or survived your worst loss; when your worst nightmare became true, you must balance existence or you’ll go “insane.”

Facing the greatest Evils as Auschwitz or having your eternal baby murdered by Jew-haters — it should happen to none of us — you have two ways to balance, to “take revenge.” You can hate back, shout revenge, promise to hurt and kill “them” more. That gives a measure of balance.

Or, you can try to balance the senseless, hateful, ugly by providing their opposites. Especially for Jews, who are tasked with choosing life, clearly, death is the ultimate disaster, evil, curse and profanity. We can’t go on living with that. We need to offset evil. So we turn to goodness, beauty, meaning, love, gentleness, generosity, service, blessing, holiness, etc.

I remember when my great parents, concentration camp survivors, died. It was such an injustice, such a loss, so irreparable, that I automatically started looking to beauty and meaning. It’s a deed of emotional and ethical survival. And they weren’t even genocided or my children.

So, expect the unexpected, the unfathomable, when mass-murderous anti-Semitism has struck again, Heaven forbid, that the mourners who lost most will elevate themselves and everyone around them.

What else is the act of saying Kaddish? Kaddish speaks of G^d’s Greatness and the Promise that all will end Well. Who says this? Our Mourners!

Now, you may understand these people who in the deepest of pain, become the greatest voices of humanity. Will you now marvel at it less? No way. You will connect it with similar greatness and spread the word like wildfire. Just let’s pray that it won’t happen to anyone anymore.

When many of us will start speaking constantly of beauty and purpose, love and peace, hope and gratefulness, unity and generosity without being provoked by Evil, maybe G^d will have an easier time, so to speak, withholding such Evil. When He can say to His Angles: Look, they already are dedicated to Goodness and Life. Maybe it’s time to stop all evil and grant Final Redemption and Paradise on Earth, as I promised. They’ll enjoy it more than merely a gift because they worked for it, almost caused it.

About the Author
To subscribe to his daily blog posts, enable an "RSS Feed Reader" for your device. Then click on the circle next to the ToI blogger's picture, containing a dot with two quarter circles around it (the Feed Computer icon). * The author is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (DES - Diethylstilbestrol), 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 vegan for 8 years now. 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, 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. * He likes doing age-appropriate and age-inappropriate things and looks forward to getting to know his timeless mature out-of-the-box soul mate. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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