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

Should we begin to pray extra for rain in Israel?

Our chief rabbis think so but never miss a chance not to be with the times

The lack of information, memory, and understanding about rain would be comical if it were not so shocking. I was born and grew up in a forest for two decades and was raised by Socialist parents. Therefore, I know what trees look like and their names. Let me share a little of my easy knowledge.

We just had, in Israel, two winters with abundant rain. The Sea of Galilee got filled to the rim. This winter, so far, reportedly, is the driest in 60 years.

Yet, Israel is now pumping desalinated water from the Mediterranean to the Sea (lake) of Galilee, Israel’s natural reservoir. We also built enough wastewater purification facilities. PM Sharon’s foresight is paying off.

With the coastal aquifers and the Northern lake filled to capacity, year-round, what should we care about droughts anymore? Enough water to drink, irrigate farmlands, cook in, and clean with forever.

In fact, we now have so much desalinated water that we just signed an agreement with Jordan to swap our plentiful water for solar energy generated in their mostly empty grounds (deserts).

When are the other countries on the Mediterranean coasts going to follow Israel’s example to fight their life-threatening climate-change drought?

***

Then, what’s there to pray extra for rain for Israel? The chief rabbis didn’t learn biology or geography, or follow the news, so, are they lost (again)?

My Chareidic friend, who’s a rabbi, got puzzled by a congregant’s question. How can Hebrew imply there’s water in the sky when so often, there are no clouds? (The Dutch would never ask so. They’d ask: How can the Torah say G^d created the sun when we never see it?) I told him that ‘no clouds here’ doesn’t mean ‘nowhere.’ And that without visible clouds, there’s still a lot of atmospheric water, as we see from the morning dew. Still puzzled.

Yet, this time, in a stroke of luck, the chief rabbis are right. We need rain. Why?

Rain in Israel falls only in winter. Besides filling up our reservoirs, it replenishes the groundwater. Small plants can live from the dew that precipitates because of the 10 degrees Celsius difference between day and night temperature. But often, that doesn’t suffice larger trees.

An Arab gardener told me that in his village, they plow the ground around olive trees thrice a year so that the dew sinks in before it evaporates. This also cuts roots prompting the trees to make more of them. Artificially watering trees makes them lazy and needing more and more water.

But most trees grow faster than olive trees. They need groundwater, which comes from the yearly rain. We can’t water all the woodlands, so with our plentiful water reserve, we can’t help our woods. They need rain, plain and simple. Not only to survive individually but also to fend off forest fires.

So, yes, let’s pray for rain in Israel now. The early rains and late rains (two different words in the Bible) are not linked. We had some earlier rain, especially on the coast, but we also need some later rain.

We also could use some cold, which typically accompanies the rain here, to lower the number of insects that would attack leaves, basks, and skins.

However, it’s so easy to ask for healing while ignoring the loving kindness of when we were healthy. Maybe first then, put in a word or two of gratefulness for the plentiful precipitation of the past two winters.

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: https://youtu.be/QMPp6h6r72M * 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: https://mmvanzuiden.wordpress.com/. * 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 (https://diethylstilbestrol.co.uk/studies/des-and-psychological-health/), 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: https://www.amazon.com/s?i=stripbooks&rh=p_27%3AMoshe-Mordechai%2FMaurits+van+Zuiden&s=relevancerank&text=Moshe-Mordechai%2FMaurits+van+Zuiden&ref=dp_byline_sr_book_1
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