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

Should women dress ‘modestly’ to accommodate Jewish men who would want that?

You are under no obligation to like my arguments. But, are they truthful?

Western civilization is built on rights, but Jewish Law on obligations. That doesn’t mean the twain shall never meet. If everyone would get what they deserve, everyone wins. And if everyone behaves as they should, also everyone wins. So, a happy mix of the two worldviews should be possible.

Jewish Law and education don’t believe in enforcement. Judaism believes in Free Will. There is a limit but only in extreme cases. To mind comes that one can prevent a prostitute from opening a business in a residential area. This could be too tempting for too many men. But that’s a far cry from a woman a bit underdressed to Orthodox-Jewish norms.

Judaism is based on the Talmud and not on the Hebrew Bible one-liners because issues always intersect. How should conflicting principles be weighed? Surely, some behavior is less kosher. Yet, most Jews don’t get to run around telling others what they should do. Rather, if one insulted someone in public, one lost their share in the future world! The worst Jewish sin is to put Judaism or Jews in a bad light. So, when a Jew would like some change, putting someone down might not be an option!

There is a commandment to reproach, but part of it is that one only does that for the benefit of the other, and only if the other would accept it.

It is a grave sin for a Jewish man to make a Jewish woman cry. I believe that not only means tears but also making her sad. No room to play holier than thou at the expense of others who are more vulnerable!

Should women dress up for ‘the men’? I would say: without the ‘should.’ Taking the needs of others into account is a worthy ethical norm. We don’t walk into a Mosque with our shoes on; we don’t walk into a synagogue bear-headed; we take our hat off in a church (but keep on our yarmulke).

Yet, many women today feel totally disrespected when told to cover up more. They don’t want to comply, not because they disrespect men, but because that makes them feel humiliated as women. In that setting, you can’t just step on women to make men feel great. You can’t just ignore the feelings (and oppression) of women for some other principle. It should be obvious that, if you like women to be considerate, be considerate of them.

I remember a discussion between Jewish 20-year-old boys 45 years ago. ‘But Judaism has the greatest respect for women.’ That could very well be, but that argument is hollow when women tell you they don’t feel that.

Where men and women clash, women should win. It’s the men’s turn to feel disturbed. Where secular and religious clash, it’s the religious to back down. It’s our fault that some Jews dislike or don’t know Orthodox Jews.

Yes, Jewish men have suffered a lot for thousands of years but at the hands of Antisemites. Don’t take that out on Jewish women. Really.

‘But I’m right and she’s wrong’ is not how it goes. You may be 1000 times more right and still obligated to shut up about it. Even if the other party is angry, doesn’t mean you can be angry too. It can be hard. But our reward is in accordance with the effort. Decency trumps the rest of Judaism.

When I am tired and sit down at a bus stop, and three ultra-Orthodox women jump up, it doesn’t mean that they think I have lice or worse. I’m sure they are tired too. But the men in the community forced them to behave like that. Lately, I found that they retake their seats when I say something friendly without looking at them.

When secular girls get confronted by an Orthodox man, they should run and clutch at the first Orthodox woman in sight. She surely understands.

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. He's proud that his analytical short comments are removed both from left-wing and right-wing news sites. None of his content is generated by the new bore on the block, AI. * As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. Or not at all because he doesn't claim G^d talks to him. He gives him good ideas—that's all. MM 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 2000 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 too, here: 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. 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. 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 (, 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. * His newest books you may find here:
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