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

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.


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
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, an almost daily blog contributor to the Times of Israel, and previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. 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. * As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. He doesn't believe that people observe and think in a vacuum. He, therefore, wanted a broad bio that readers interested can track a bit about what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and education contribute to his visions. * If you don't know the Dutch, get an American peek behind the scenes here: * To find less-recent posts on subject XXX among his over 1600 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, here: * Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. Yet, 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 who don't deserve that. 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), 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. * 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, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim, Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. * 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. 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, anti-elitism, anti-bigotry and supremacy, for Zionism, Intersectionality, and 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. * He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to 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. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. * 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, empowering therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids non-violently. 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 being a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. He lives with his library in Jerusalem. Feel free to contact him. * His writing has been made possible by a (second-generation) Holocaust survivors' allowance 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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