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

Recent remarkable days for Jews in Jerusalem and the number fifty

So many special things happened in a row that I would like to make a note of them for posterity. Day after day after day, unique happened. Did you realize all of them and do you still remember? Time flies when you’re having fun.


On his first visit abroad, US President Donald J. Trump visited Israel too, “prayed” at the Kotel and going all smiles with us (but behind closed doors screaming at “President” Abbas), daughter Yael cried a tear at the Holy Wall, and leaving without one single press conference. Enfant terrible Oren Chazan stole a selfie with him but the establishment did not like that – as if he is here to be liked by them. The next day:

Yom Yerushalayim

And not just a day to celebrate the unification of our capital. Fifty years since the liberation of Jerusalem from Jordanian occupation and destruction. That only happens one day in the history of the world.

I noticed that religious Jews celebrate this more than Independence Day. The next day:

Yom Chevron

The day after Jerusalem fell into our hands, Chevron returned to us too. Fifty years since Rabbi Goren singlehandedly “recaptured” Chevron for the Jewish People. He simply walked, holding a Torah scroll, into Chevron. Arabs who saw his self-confidence were sure that he must be followed by an enormous tank force and fled. He was not. The next day:

Rosh Chodesh Sivan

The first day of the new month of Sivan. This year it also (almost) coincided with the start if the Ramadan. It always depends on when the moon is actually visible which this year was the next day, Shabbat. (They use telescopes; when we have the Sanhedrin again, we’ll do the same but only with the naked eye. The next day:

Parashat Bamidbar and Day of Distinction

Shabbat is always special, every week. Bamidbar is normally read before Shavuot. The branches of Jewish-religious youth movement B’nay Akiva from all Jerusalem’s neighborhoods every year march to the Kotel on the Shabbat afternoon before Shavu’ot. However, this year, they went a week earlier because of the dangers on the first day of the Ramadan. Where are the days that Muslims decided to murder Jews before the holy Ramadan, not to soil their holy month with bloodshed? I remember that that was the attitude during the Second Intifada – a mere 15 years ago. The most dangerous days were those before the Ramadan – when a peaceful atmosphere would descend on Muslim society. What a decline that now those who murder in the name of Islam seek to sanctify their holiest month with blood!

What is and when was the original Day of Distinction is explained in the Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Shabbat, pages 86b-88a. That will keep you off the street for a while! Nowadays it falls between the Head of the Month of Sivan and the three days that precede the Festival of Jewish Pentecost. The next days:

Three Days of Restraint

Three things Moses changed on his own accord and G-d liked them. One was to enlarge the two to three days of separation between the genders before the Revelation on Sinai. All Jewish customs agree that one can then get a haircut. The next day:

Chag haShavuot

Day fifty arrived, seven complete weeks since Pesach we needed to complete before we may make Kiddush. In The Netherlands, even the evening service won’t start until it’s really dark, which means about 23:00. Then rushing home, a quick meal and rushing back to get all of the traditional learning done before daybreak. My shul this year was decorated with flowers – many have this custom for Shavuot. The next day:

Yom Tov Sheni in the Diaspora

Because of the delay by Moses, this was most probably the Jewish-calendar day that we actually received the Torah. The Rabbis have declared violating the sanctity of the Second Festival days of the Diaspora worse that the Firsts, but in this case it seems extra bad as that was likely the actual day. (Try to explain that to the non-Orthodox streams.) In any case, learning and receiving Jewish knowledge is of every day, so that fits that this is the only Festival that has no set date in the Torah.

Meanwhile it was already Isru chag in Israel, schools still free.

It was a most remarkable sequence of 16 days. I have no idea when the Christian Festival days fell. One of the perks of living in Jerusalem.

The Diaspora would go back to Tachanun prayers on the ninth, and Israel on the thirteenth of Sivan. This was followed by heat waves. Most traditional Jews try to go on vacation and daytrips as soon as schools stop and before the Three Weeks start. In the distance a faint smell of the High Holidays may be sensed already. When one lives by the Jewish calendar, one is never lost in time.

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: