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

Modern Hebrew gives kids universal victimhood

My young child stamps on the floor tiles. What happened? ‘I got a bang from the floor. The floor is bad.’ Really? But the floor didn’t rise up to bang you, right? You fell. Yes, I received a bang. Where did you learn to be angry at the floor? At kindergarten.

And so, my kids walked into doors, walls, cabinets, tables, or chairs and all these objects were banging them. It was never ‘I banged my head.’

One day, I saw a young guy with a tilted plastic cup of cola. He was reading and forgot about his drink. By the time it was half empty he noticed. How are you going to wiggle yourself out of this one, I pondered.

No problem! He said ‘Oy, it spilled from me’ and walked away disappointed. I took some tissue to mop it up. If you can’t help that you spilled, you probably also can’t help cleaning up after yourself.

My daughter said: ‘But in Hebrew, you can’t say ‘I spilled’. If you’d say that it means you did it on purpose.’

This is great for kids with a religious upbringing. There is so much stress on always taking responsibility. How great when you have an outlet where you’re just a victim of circumstances.

And also for those who are not raised in the Jewish Tradition, this is great. No one tells them how they could improve or what they should do. Grownups call that: ‘It’s only a child — what do you want from him?!’

The truth is that now my kids are bigger responsible young people, they know how to say it in Hebrew. They’ll say: ‘Oops, I accidentally pressed the off button.’ But that’s obviously too sophisticated for youngsters.

It is nice though that Hebrew-speakers can work with one-word sentences. In Dutch, a child must say all of: ‘Can I please have a cookie, daddy?’ In Hebrew, you only need to look as if you haven’t eaten in three weeks and say: ‘Cookyyyy.’ In such matters of life-and-death, of course, you help.

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 He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will.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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