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

Rabbi Cardozo closes the door on modern objective books on the Torah

You probably know them. Those contemporary fraudulent books that come to tell us what G^d wants from us. Whether they pacify or stir us, they position themselves as the L^rd’s spokespersons. False prophets wholesale selling convention and certainty, demand and fait accompli as if that’s all G^d wants us to know and follow.

No more! Coming up, the first volume by Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo on the Torah (preorder!). He eloquently and enthusiastically begins to show, not what G^d wants from us but rather what He wants to ask us.

Rabi Tzadok tells us (Sayings of the Fathers 4:7): “Don’t make the Torah into a crown to aggrandize yourself or a spade to dig with.We need to consult the (Written and Oral) Torah to decide Jewish Law. But the Torah is not our tool to satisfy our curiosity about the Highest and the Lowest; to prove that we are right or others wrong; to show off or put another down; to find answers or to torpedo answers; nor a storehouse of explanations but a timeless collection of keen penetrating questions.

The Torah is not to be merely used or it’s abused. That would cheapen it. It’s like not utilizing our older parents to reach a goal. Surely they want to help us but they should never be turned into our servants.

A special case of abusing the Torah is wanting to find all solutions. Study Torah in depth and we’ll find some answers but also an endless number of deep questions. The Torah is not the final encyclopedia holding all knowledge. It’s the ultimate questionnaire. It asks us. It makes us question, including ourselves. It should make us wonder if not worry.

The Torah well read should surprise, no: shock us. It must worry the comfortable and comfort the worried. Rabbi Cardozo shows the way.

“Who knows” is synonymous with G^d knows. G^d presents Himself as the rhetorical Who. Who’s like You? (Exodus 15:11, Song at the Sea and the Standing Prayer, second Blessing on G^d’s Holiness, Specialness.) This is an answerless question. You cannot see My Face because no human can see It and live (Exodus 33:20). G^d is Beyond. Likewise, we should be beyond knowing. We should constantly question anything we know. Not despite our Jewish info but rather because of what Judaism teaches us.

That will be unpopular. It’s easier to have closure. Tranquility feels nice. But the ultimate Shalom is beyond tranquility. It’s being one with everything and everyone. There are no easy simple answers to get there.

Perhaps.

———
Rabbi Cardozo and I are friends and I haven’t seen the manuscript yet.

***

Rabbi Cardozo is a Spinoza specialist — and lover — which is well-known. May I then add a few words about the following?

One needs to ask oneself: Where did the amazing Torah insights that should have emulated from Spinoza’s extraordinary mind go? We know that nothing from the spiritual world gets ever lost.

Well, maybe they went to the formidable brain of his contemporary, Newton. His kosher religiosity and insights in the Jewish Tradition are remarkable, especially for a scientist shunned by the Church in power and for a Gentile not at all obligated to study Jewish knowledge

About the Author
The author is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (DES - Diethylstilbestrol), 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 vegan for 8 years now. 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. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me. To see other blog posts by him, a second blog - under construction - can be found by clicking on the Website icon next to his picture.
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