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

Seeing G^d

The Jews supposedly have an invisible G^d. But that’s a very shallow observation.

We close our eyes during the saying of the Sh’ma’ because we can only truly see when we blind ourselves.

A retired professor of philosophy (philosophers are trained to define anything), a friend of mine, got cataract. He couldn’t see things so sharp anymore. Suddenly he realized: When we over-describe something we lose the real thing that in reality is always fuzzy.

Judaism is not Buddhism. (Though, for many Jews, Buddhism is Judaism.) One hand clapping cannot be part of the Mosaic Tradition.

So, trying to imagine the unimaginable is not a Jewish thing, IMHO.

G^d created us, so He knows that we cannot envision Him. But He also knows that we can’t pray toward something we cannot visualize. So, He gave us all kinds of visuals to put in front of us, to pray to. Yet, He’s very clear about His demand that we shall not confuse those props with Him.

We can imagine G^d as a parent, loving us and sometimes telling us off.

We can imagine G^d as superhuman because we’re created in His image.

We can imagine G^d having a face to relate to and an ear to talk to.

We can imagine G^d as so vast that we can’t see the end of Him.

We can imagine G^d as so close that we can whisper to Him.

We can imagine G^d as being perfect as nothing else.

We can imagine G^d as believing in us as no one else.

Not only are we allowed to imagine something for G^d, we have no choice. Jews who say they have no image of G^d are deceiving themselves or you because G^d is also beyond ‘the unimaginable.’ When we try to imagine infinity, we run up a blank, but that’s an idol too. Ask most Orthodox Jews: “What do you imagine when thinking of G^d,” they’ll answer: “nothing.” But nothing is still too substantial to be a proper representation of G^d.

There are time-bound references not to what G^d would be but to what He did and does and will do. He preceded and created the world. He freed us from slavery in Egypt. He protects us and lets us miraculously survive throughout our powerless existence in the Diaspora. He is our G^d like He was our ancestors’ G^d. He judges us like a king; He loves us as a father, even: our groom. And we are like His firstborn. He doesn’t sleep nor slumber. He will save and redeem us all. But this is all circumstantial. These references hint at His ‘character’ but still don’t tell us Who He is.

The only way to properly see G^d is to realize what image you use and be aware that it’s just an image, not G^d. And, that’s the best we can do.

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. 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 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 1400 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: https://mmvanzuiden.wordpress.com/ 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. * 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 (https://diethylstilbestrol.co.uk/studies/des-and-psychological-health/), 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.
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