Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
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Most moralistic, psychological, and pious sermons fail at least some people

This is on how most moralizing, psychological, religious, and secular lecturing fail at least some people and what should be added to them.

Let’s voice support for generous, responsible, idealistic, humble people!

(Under the age of 60, for many people it’s hard to figure out if they are generous, responsible, and idealistic or the opposite. The person who finally takes a chance and asks something for herself, typically feels so guilty that she tells herself for the rest of the year how selfish she is. While the person who finally takes a chance and is generous for once, typically feels such a saint he tells himself for the rest of the year to be less of a fool from now on. So, if you’re not sure, ask your spouse, child, or best friend. That will only work if they are honest and not intimidated by you.)

Be More Selfish

Most preachers believe that most people are selfish. So they call upon all people to be more charitable.

This call will be applauded by generous people (among them: most women and most parents) but really is worse than a waste of time for them. They may feel vindicated but they should be told: It’s important to receive. And preferably not by taking.

If your only option is to take because there is no one to request from, your life needs an upgrade.

They need to prioritize receiving. Not because you can only give well when you receive. That principle would say: basically, you’re here to give.

No, receiving should be part of the deal. You would not want anyone to go without. That’s why you’re so generous. Well, you are part of the ‘not anyone.’ The world is more just when you receive. The whole world is a better place if you receive too. To Hell with guilt feelings.

And if it’s hard to receive, do it for the young ones. How is the next generation supposed to believe that they are not born to serve if they see this giant person around (you) who’s constantly milked dry and never gets what s/he needs, with your apparent consent?

And since generosity starts at home, to spouses I will say: Please stop trying to get. It will never be enough. Please start giving all you have.

If your partner does not respond in kind, gently remind her or him. If s/he still doesn’t, it’s time to find a spouse who will nourish you too.

Be More Irresponsible

Most preachers believe that most people are irresponsible, try to avoid taking responsibility all the time. And maybe they are. So they call upon all people to be more conscientious.

This call will be applauded by dependable people (among them: many parents) but really is worse than a waste of time for them. They may feel vindicated but they should be told: It’s important to prioritize yourself.

Being a workaholic, never spending any money on yourself, and not wanting to disappoint anyone can be treated like any addiction. These behaviors can be dumped and made fun of. They are not you.

The great secret is that responsible people are not extra responsible. They take extra responsibility towards the needs of others and the world as a whole but, at the expense of themselves. They starve themselves and are praised for it.

They need to prioritize themselves. Not because only they are important. But if they’re not for themselves, who should be? Charity really starts at home! They should also not prioritize others because they pity them. Rather, they should fight injustice because they don’t want it in their world. Never do anything for anyone. Do it for you.

No, taking care of yourself and your most personal needs should be part of the deal. No one can do for you the most important things for you as well as you. The world is more just when you take care of you first. The whole world is a better place when you prioritize you. To Hell with guilt feelings.

The other great secret is that you don’t need to feel obligated. You will live the best moral life when you stop running for obligation and expectation.

When you begin cutting out the should, you may become lazy. But soon you’ll realize that you don’t want to live in a run-down world. But then you can start doing things because you want to, not because you should.

If your religion tells you a million shoulds, adopt them as wants. As soon as you whole-heartedly do what they wanted to lay on you, you’re free to do as you like. You can’t be more free than always doing as you please.

To do what you want, energizes. To do what you should, depletes you of your energy and tells others: try to not do like me. You advocate laziness.

And if it’s hard to prioritize yourself and do what you want, do it for the young ones. How is the next generation supposed to believe they are not born to just give and be used if they see this giant person around (you) who never gets what s/he needs and never does what s/he really wants?

And if you’re exhausted constantly, is that because you work so hard or because you have no one in your life who truly loves you and cares about you, and tells you: cut it down a bit. Let me give you a massage?

You’re not here to serve the world. You may build up your own house too.

Be More Vain

Most preachers believe that most people are mostly chasing vanities all their lives. And maybe they are. So they call upon all people to be happy with what they have and stop amassing money, status, importance, power, recognition, honor, fat, body bulks (beauty), entertainment, and comfort.

This call will be applauded by idealistic people (among them: all activists and most teachers) but really is worse than a waste of time for them. They may feel vindicated but they should be told: When you feel burned-out, you’re doing something wrong (not delegating enough, drinking too much alcohol?). Change that so that being a leader and an idealist gets fun again.

You’re not here to save the world. You may build up your own life too.

Just that you’re happy and satisfied doesn’t mean that you must surround yourself with needy and displeased people. Seeking fellow happy campers.

And if it’s hard to have a life, do it for the young ones. How is the next generation supposed to build their own lives if they see this giant person around (you) whose lives for others and ask nothing?

Have More Pride

Most preachers believe that most people are too ego-centric and arrogant. And maybe they are. So they call upon all people to be more humble.

This call will be applauded by unassuming people (among them: many poor people) but really is worse than a waste of time for them. They may feel vindicated but they should be told: No one’s more important than you.

No, everyone should regain their natural humility and stop being snobs but you still (or again) have that. You must add some pride. It is your birthright to say ‘no’ when needed. The world will be a better place every time you don’t succumb but reject if that’s what you think is called for. To Hell with guilt feelings. If needed, you can learn to say no generously, as if you hand them the moon–because it’s a great gift you give them.

And if it’s hard to say no, do it for the young ones. How is the next generation supposed to demand respect and set boundaries if they see this giant person around (you) whose personality constantly gets violated and who doesn’t seem to mind?


Sometimes it’s hard to see where over-generosity stops and where over-responsibility starts, where too holy still differs from too humble. All these distortions are friends of each other. But so can our corrections be!

When we try to be a bit less generous, we automatically make it easier to be less responsible, holy, and humble. Let others, who still believe in slavery (either as slaves or as slave owners), frown upon it. You know you’re on the right path. May you go from strength to strength!

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:
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