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

Limit honoring people

Less (ego) is more (people)

Experience shows that awarding people prizes is fraught with dangers. Maybe we need new rules to prevent giving honors to people who hurt others, hurting the people they hurt. Here are some new rules I propose:

1. Only honor people who are long dead. Then they can’t add something bad to their record and skeletons should have left their closets.

2. Stop honoring rich people without thinking about how they amassed all that money. They may’ve done some good things with part of the money but was it theirs? And, financial success doesn’t equal moral victory.

3. Stop honoring people as if there are superior and inferior people. Start honoring deeds by people without claiming they were complete saints.

4. Reserve accolades for funerals and also there, be very cautious with your praises. So say that the diseased can still hear and hearing falsehood used to praise him is a terrible embarrassment in the world of truth.

5. Stop all Greek competing: everyone against all others, one winner, the rest loses. Replace by Jewish competition: everyone against their old self, all can be winners. In group sports, each team is obligated to ensure that each duel ends with an equal score or both parties are disqualified.

6. Honor teachers by disagreeing with, adding to, or applying their lessons, not by praising them. We need more humility, truth, holiness. Not more ego. And less absolute judgment (condemnation and commendation). A personal “I like that you …” is much better. Our best reward is not when we had what’s considered success but when we know we did our best.

7. Stop rewarding and punishing people (kids!). Don’t hand out prizes. Say: I like what you did but I bought you a present because I love you.

Gone will be royalty and paparazzi! Gone will be the Nobel Prizes and honorary doctorates! Gone will be philanthropy done in public (and flattery of the rich)! Gone will be live superheroes! Gone will be exorbitant expectations, jealousy, and ordinary people falling from their pedestal!

True, some people contribute more and give more leadership than others. But if that’s what they’re capable of, that’s exactly what they should do to end up being equal to people who did less with less talent or opportunity.

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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