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

How to develop a sense of humor?

Tell jokes. It’s an art that can be learned by practice.

Smile, be friendly, sing, be happy (with what is), be pleased, grateful, optimistic and positive.

Don’t smile and joke instead of crying. Don’t joke to escape horror. Deal with the serious issues of life. Take your time crying (not just moping). So that you can spend the rest of the day enjoying life. Tears are not the enemy of jokes; they are the homework and the after party.

Take therapy on you hang-ups so that you don’t need to make jokes about them, which are not funny for people with other hang-ups. The more you get rid of your hang-ups, the more you will see others’. And when you can sense what others are stressed about, you are better able to make them laugh.

Take enough time daily to be part of the good life: playing with a baby, looking at flowers, talking with a good friend, working with your hands (not on the keyboard), take time for creating or enjoying art, etc.

Relax within. Even when you playact someone stressed, stay calm on the inside. You need that for timing. Jokes need good timing. Pauses, repetitions, to build up (wrong) expectations on where the joke is going.

Laugh at your own jokes. Also when you’re alone. Be your own best customer. Make sure no joke of yours goes to waste. Model for others how to laugh. If they insist, explain jokes.

Learn to say sorry when people feel offended. You can’t always be a success when trying to brighten someone’s life. But do try again to see if the next joke could make their day.

Never believe the sour-faced. They would love to laugh too. They are not the enemy – they are your potential customers. Don’t give up on them.

Bitter jokes, rude jokes, cynical jokes, oppressive jokes – don’t tell them and don’t laugh about them. Or if you must, laugh to yourself until they’re not funny anymore.

Listen to people who know how to do stand-up, tell jokes. Seek out people who know how to joke around.

Read jokes. Read comics. Collect them. Memorize them. Have a repertoire to borrow from and vary on. Don’t quote jokes. Make sure they come out fresh, preferably tailor-made for your public.

Don’t “try” to be funny.” Be funny.

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 (, 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: 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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