Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews -- For those who like their news and truths frank and sharp

Outlaw teaching children to lie

Once they figured it out, they got the ‘privilege’ to join the liars …

It’s not that I want the police involved. Rather, I mean that as humanity, we seriously should stop raising generations of liars.

I’m going to go beyond problems like Santa Claus’s slaves having blackface and uprooting Christmas trees, beyond freedom of religion and the separation of state and religion, and beyond the virtue of being honest.

The main problem is not normalizing lying and theft but that most people end up not thinking for themselves and being misled all their lives.

It starts with teaching religious beliefs as facts. Then come Santa and the Eastern Bunny. Then supremacies. UFOs. A Flat Earth. And then Trump.

In the end, who thinks for themselves still, has any critical sense left, and is cynical enough not to follow charismatic dictators naively?

Herd mentality allows the bad guys to get away with mass murder. Groups chanting hatefully: ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,’ convinced it’s an act of love, but unable to name that river or that sea.

There is no such thing as an innocent lie. Especially not when it involves making people terrified of even thinking of rebelling against assumptions.

You can’t buy off lying to kids by feeling guilty. Just stop the pretense.

Be delighted with everyone around you when they think for themselves.

We can’t build a better world, while most people are extremely naïve and believe every con artist and flatterer vying for their votes.

Thinking critically doesn’t end in atheism and anarchy inevitably. But it may help the average faithful and citizens to purify heritage and customs.

Is that not a scary experiment? Well, not relative to our situation. What ever could be scarier than the race we are in now with as runners: climate change extinction, global nuclear war, and universal totalitarianism?

Make-belief and play-acting should be reserved for playing. Most ex-kids could use more playfulness in life. Which doesn’t mean it always must be serious. But we’d better be sincere when imagining we were at the Exodus from Egypt, or when praying, we’re standing in front of G^d—though not so totally we literally believe our imagination to be factual. He’s beyond us.

The difference between a magician and a swindler is that the former is supposed to trick you, and you’re the happiest when you can’t understand the hoax. A religious trickster tries to confuse you into believing, while a pious person shows you what good you can do with certain assumptions.

Teach everyone around that there are no forbidden questions.

Many Jewish scholars say that Orthodox Judaism doesn’t have any real dogmas, but I don’t want to elevate that to be a good dogma.

There is nothing more Jewish than to check with reality. G^d is secular.

My friend and teacher Harvey Jackins often said something like: Trust your own thinking. Trust your own thinking. Trust your own thinking. You could misunderstand me to mean that you should trust my thinking that you should trust your own thinking, but I think most of you know what I mean.

Now, which should be our main goal: being honest and authentic, trusting your thinking or thinking for yourself, welcoming all questions, becoming less naïve, or bravely living with doubt? They seem all related, and each one seems to imply all the others. The honesty seems to breed emotional closeness, trusting your thinking breeds trusting your intuition, welcoming all questions breeds humility, being less naïve breeds becoming a non-manipulative leader, and being brave breeds authenticity—a benign circle.

How do I, as an Orthodox Jew, dare to write the above? Other Orthodox Jews might have different answers, but some of mine are the following. Quite obviously, generally, G^d doesn’t force people. He wants us to choose the best of our options, make the most of any situation, and not cause long-term unnecessary hurt. Lying to our kids to make them follow our best interpretation or understanding is enforcement. Giving a good example is not. The Torah hardly rejects anything more forcefully than dishonesty. Last, but not least, G^d is not a moody idol that needs to be placated. All His Requests are for our good, including facing challenges. So, we can’t go wrong when we model our students and kids to do what’s right and safe over what’s only-me, familiar, and comfortable. And when we give enough support, almost all people will choose best almost always. And if they went wrong but trust their thinking, they will figure it out and change course. The last they need is others messing with their mind.

Judaism doesn’t allow us to sell it using tricks and lies. G^d’s seal is truth. We’re taught to be outside like our inside, not to be hypocrites.

Though the Beatles sang “All you need is love,” that’s not true. We also need more than integrity. These should have high priorities, but the most important is humility. Luckily, if you’re honest, you can only be humble. And the humbler you are, the more it becomes impossible to hate, be angry, arrogant, egocentric, stingy, ungrateful, careless, and fearless.

Full disclosure: Being strictly honest is an important cultural norm in the Netherlands. That doesn’t mean there are no liars or thieves among the Dutch. The jails are bursting with prisoners. But maybe that’s too because the Dutch love honesty too much to let crooks get away with dishonesty.

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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