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

Judaism teaches that great and powerful means merciful

The Talmud exclaims: How silly are those who (out of respect) rise for a Torah scroll but not for a Jewish scholar who is a living embodiment of the Torah. Then it remarks what, in fact, we mean by a great and powerful scholar. Not what one would think. Rather, someone who is extra merciful. The Torah says: not more than 40 whip lashes; the Sages say: not more than 39. They are more powerful and more merciful.

Not to say that Man could be more merciful than G^d, Heaven forbid. Clearly, He intended and foresaw the Rabbis refining it like this, as His representatives — even in full autonomy — the Torah is not in Heaven [anymore] so must be decided upon by the Rabbis, teaches the Talmud.

This idea to call greatness mercy seems unprecedented but it isn’t. The Torah in our Portion of the week mentions thisĀ  (Deuteronomy 3:23). Our Chief Commentator points out that Your Greatness in this context of asking for clemency must mean goodness. I would go further: mercy.

BTW: Heaven forbid that we could make G^d change His mind! His Bible says clearly and repeatedly (Numbers 23:19, 1 Samuel 15:29, Malachi 3:6, Psalms 110:4), He’s not a human that He would change His Mind.

Note: This does not mean that every Prophecy needs to become reality. Every positive Prophecy will. But one function of dreadful Prophecy is to warn and help us repent — so that we will merit a more merciful future.

And then the disaster will not happen! Therefore, we don’t participate in ruining the world, to create chaos that could herald the End of Times with a miraculous Redemption. We pray and act for justice and tranquility so that we may merit not to have to see more war and destruction.

So why do we pray and ask Him anything if G^d will stick to His opinion? To elevate our ethical value so that His blessings will be able to reach us.

And from G^d’s side, to give us a chance to bring more of His goodness and repair down to this world. It’s not that He does everything and we are passive recipients — or not. We’re invited to be His active partner in perfecting ourselves, all of Mankind, and the whole world.

Baruch” therefore cannot mean: May G^d be exalted – nothing could. Rather, it is a testimony that G^d is the Source of all blessing. Once we acknowledged that, He grants us to partake from, enjoy His world.

Last but not least, why do we give extra charity when a lot is at stake? To bribe G^d? Won’t work, my friend. The whole idea of having G^d work for us, instead of the other way around, is a shocking chutzpah.

It is the most classical idol worship to try to please, placate, and pacify the irritable gods to get favors. Jews who pray or fulfill Commandments to delight G^d are busy serving idols; even if they dedicate a lot of time and money to ‘being religious,’ wear the most expensive Jewish garb, know all of Judaism by heart and have a great following.

Hopefully, we do so to elevate us. And then we will merit more mercy.

If anything above strikes you as revolutionary — it is pure classical Judaism.

Happy Tu beAv and Shabbat shalom!

About the Author
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 (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, 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. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me. To see other blog posts by him, a second blog - under construction - can be found by clicking on the Website icon next to his picture.
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