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

How to enjoy Shabbat?

Superficially looked at, Shabbat is a terrible time, Heaven forbid. Why? This is forbidden and that is forbidden. On top of that, there is a whole load of things that we are obligated to perform on the holy day. Doesn’t sound like fun, does it?

Some people think that G^d is a very stern Supervis^r, Who tolerates no frivolity. Then a wish for enjoyment would be actually rebellion.

Not so in Judaism. The Creat^r has no limits and neither has His generosity. But in order to give, He needed to create the whole Universe, put in it creatures who have Free Will, and reward them for making the right choices. This reward would be in this world and in the Afterlife.

So, whatever a Jewish life might be all about, it should give you a great life here and a great life after death. And then, the question how of to enjoy Shabbat is completely relevant. And here are my suggestions to get there.

1. Injunctions and Directives are emergency messages. Ideally, we should rather follow the Guidelines for Shabbat from our free will enthusiastically. Only when we fail to adhere to them, the Divine Dos and the Don’ts must kick in and save us from misbehaving. When we love to be Shabbat observant, we are already not limited or hindered by Divine Instructions.

2. Nothing is forbidden on Shabbat. It’s not that we must not cook on Shabbat. We don’t need to. It’s not that we may not travel on Shabbat. We don’t have to. Some still say: “I can’t live without a smart-phone.” But more and more people understand how much we need a mobile-phone-free day each week.

3. Focus on all the good that comes into reach when we keep Shabbat. Having time to be pleased with what is (instead of being obsessed with what still needs to be improved). Extra time to pray, sing, be together with family and friends, eat, sleep, be intimate, and “learn Torah.” The branches of the tree are not just cut off. Rather, the tree is cut into shape.

Shabbat shalom.

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. * 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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