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

Living Sage Chaim Kanievsky from the Tel Aviv suburb of Bnei Brak has lost it?

There is this story of a new plane that at every test flight keeps losing its wings. Barely into the air, the wings break off and none of the aviation experts can figure out what to do about it.

Suddenly, someone has an idea. Let’s visit this very old rabbi. Maybe he knows what to do?

The rabbi listens carefully to the puzzle laid out and asks: Where exactly do the wings break? Always at the same line, he’s answered. Then there, you should drill a line of holes in the wings.

It sounds crazy but that’s what they do and low and behold, the plane stays up in the air.

They revisit the rabbi and ask him: How did you know? He answers: It’s not so difficult. Toilet paper also never tears at the perforated line.

A silly joke. But built on the assumption that surprisingly wise very old rabbis exist. And some of them truly are.

But the living Sage Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky damaged the respect that he generally receives by defying government orders this Sunday and ruling that schools under his responsibility must stay open, endangering not only the students but also their parents and grandparents and the whole community and country. I tremble writing this but I feel I must.

Generally, it is opined that when the Rav rules something that makes no sense at all, it is caused by the steady cordon of power-hungry people that surrounds him to select and restrict the information that he gets. And how could the rabbi know that he’s not receiving the full picture?

Soon he probably will get the full picture and decide what all other rabbis have decided. There is no reason to suppose differently.

Later, it was announced that a compromise was reached of maximally 10 students per room. They should then also be at 2 meters distance from each other. This is likely completely impossible, especially if they sleep over with 8 students per room of 8 square meters in bunk beds. More likely, this is a face-saving agreement, soon to be replaced by a school stop. This isn’t straightforward, justifying press and public scrutiny.

Authorities playing fast and loose with the rules stimulate that others don’t take the national health guidelines seriously either. The Ultra-Orthodox Health Minister’s words weigh less than (poor) Sage advice.

The amount of pseudo-Judaism that is uttered around this is shocking. No, it is not true that being saintly protects against illness and nullifies medical advice. Neither is the Jewish way: “Just have faith.” The correct way is: Do everything you can to protect human life (yours and that of others) and when you can’t do more, trust that He will do His part.

This all shows again that if there ever will be a State carried but even the most saintly people, it must have freedom of the press, also when all the journalists are hateful lowlifes who trick and manipulate public opinion.

My grandfather (who’s murdered in Auschwitz) used to say: “Socialism is the ideal system but has one flaw. It must be executed by humans.”

G^d can be trusted but no-one else gets to work without scrutiny.

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 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. 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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