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

I disagree with Rabbi Cardozo about sex and prayer

Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo and I are friends for a long time. I also learned a lot from him and other teachers he invited to teach at the Cardozo Academy lectures and Think Tank meetings. And, my life would not have been so good as it is without his general and personal input.

Yet, having learned a lot from him doesn’t mean that we see eye to eye on every issue. In fact, we have very different personalities and personal ideals. As I see it, Rabbi Cardozo is a romanticist, always happy to find another untouchable mystery in the universe. He far surpassed down-to-earth Dutch culture. And, he’s a macho man with feelings and emotions.

By being a happy camper, I’m also beyond Dutch Calvinism. That’s a sin in a country where it rains every day. But, I don’t fancy romantics. I’m a rationalist, trained in the natural sciences. I like the part of Judaism that reflects and reflects on earthly reality and scientific findings. I don’t need vague spirituality or any type of drama. I like things organized and calm.

So, I’m not totally surprised by Rabbi Cardozo’s new masterpiece that seems to touch on the far and beyond of sexuality and prayer. It is very honest, personal, daring, and new for someone not on psychedelic drugs. I also find this trip well deserved for a seeker who gets thrilled by being lost more than by finding his way. Yet, it’s not for me. I don’t see the ultimate thing of sex or prayer as meeting the Other in the most sublime way.

I see prayer as a two-way street (we talk, He listens) whereby it doesn’t matter what He does. It matters, but it is not for us to check out. It’s His responsibility. Like in a deep mutual friendship where you stopped critically following the other. You each take care of the other and that is it. G^d even humbly agreed not to be our Everything.

I see sexuality as a two-way street where you each take care of the needs of the other and are not involved in getting (let alone taking) either.

When you both give, everyone receives, everyone is happy.

So, I find checking what we get out of such a relationship destroying the process. As soon as we ask ourselves what the Other does for us, we place ourselves outside of mutual trust, the process of prayer or sexuality.

“Look at your own plate,” my parents would say if we’d compare what our siblings got. Asking what I get from my encounter with G^d is like checking what I get out of sex with my partner. While the whole purpose is to take responsibility for my part and leave the rest to the Other.

I must add that sex and prayer are generally terribly overrated. Sex and prayer are only as good and wholesome as the relationship in which they operate. And the relationship is built by consistent hard work, of being reliable partners. That is something for around the clock. The actual sex and prayer acts are only the finishing touch of the relationships.

But, it’s nice that Rabbi Cardozo always comes with new stuff.

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. 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 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 1400 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: https://mmvanzuiden.wordpress.com/ 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. * 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 (https://diethylstilbestrol.co.uk/studies/des-and-psychological-health/), 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.
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