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

In defense of Safed’s Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu

The chief rabbi is denied entry into the US as if a terrorist. Who is he?

The Sages of the Talmud tell us that G^d promised to make the children of our leaders small generally, so that the Jewish People won’t be lorded over by dynasties. However, Rabbi Shmuel is the son of one of Israel’s greatest rabbis in the last 50 years, but a monumental rabbi in his own right too.

Ultra-Orthodox Chief Rabbi

City rabbis have a special position. Until now, most of them are ultra-Orthodox. But, if they work faithfully, most of their interactions are with Jews who are not ultra-Orthodox. If they are truly for the people, they will reserve their principled exclusiveness for home and moderation outside.

Leading the War Against Sexual Predators

Already when sexual abuse was not talked about, let alone reported, and especially by respectable people in the ultra-Orthodox community, he set up a nationwide special tribunal to investigate, recommend, and report. Much sexual coercion was prevented by his intrusion and ostracization.

For Organ Donations

There is a grave difference of opinion between the current Jewish arbiters regarding the moment of death in accordance with Jewish Law. The son-in-law of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein was a biologist and gave, what I thought were compelling arguments, but leading rabbis still disagreed with him.

That seriously impedes organ transplants. When can they be harvested?

Rabbi Eliyahu stepped in and enabled many cases, saving countless lives.

Against Jews and Muslims Living Apart Together

Rabbi Eliyahu is trashed for speaking out against Jews and Muslims living together. However, most Jews understand they should not tempt their children to intermarry and most Muslims want intermarriage even less.

In Christian lands, where all are proclaimed equal (instead of equal before the law), this is frowned upon. Especially, by those for whom ethnicity is merely a cultural thing, and religion only an on the side hobby.

Calling this rabbi (and most Israelis) racists from a land whose visa papers still ask for skin color says more about them than anyone else. When outsiders feel free to lecture Israelis, you only need to look inside their country to see the beam in their eye, why they scream about our splinter.

Mizrachic/Arab Jews have no Reform/Conservative/Orthodox divisions, unlike White/Ashkenazic Jews. The pot calls the kettle black when White/Ashkenazic Jews call Black/Arab/Mizrachic/Israeli Jews racist.

Against LGBTQ+

True, this rabbi is harsh about Gays, etc. I’m the last one to justify this. But all Orthodox rabbis are guilty of this by association. And, don’t assume that non-Orthodox rabbis are any better. As a group, they don’t value Gay orientation. Rather, they don’t care as all things private go in their vision.

To go after this rabbi because of this is just ridiculous.

Bullied by US Baseless Hatred

So, the attempt by holier-than-thou Jews in the US to block this rabbi from entering the US reveals only that they are not proud of their own religious stance. Because those who are don’t need to be intolerant toward others.

Jews should give a moral example. That cannot include the despicable idea that I need to trample you to feel good about myself.

To ban Rabbi Eliyahu from entering the US is their loss. And moral defeat.

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. He's proud that his analytical short comments are removed both from left-wing and right-wing news sites. None of his content is generated by the new bore on the block, AI. * As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. Or not at all because he doesn't claim G^d talks to him. He gives him good ideas—that's all. MM 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 2000 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 too, here: 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. One of his rabbis calls him Mr. Innovation [Ish haChidushim]. Yet, his originalities seem to root deeply in traditional Judaism, though they may grow in unexpected directions. In fact, he claims he's modernizing nothing. Rather, mainly basing himself on the basic Hebrew Torah text, he tries to rediscover classical Jewish thought almost lost in thousands of years of stifling Gentile domination and Jewish assimilation. (He pleads for a close reading of the Torah instead of going by rough assumptions of what it would probably mean and before fleeing to Commentaries.) This, in all aspects of life, but prominently in the areas of Free Will, Activism, Homosexuality for men, and Redemption. * 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 (, 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. * His newest books you may find here:
Related Topics
Related Posts