Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews

Spreading Happiness

The Talmud urges Jews to increase happiness from the start of the Month Adar. Many think that to mean that we should try to be happier. But that’s not actually what the Sages recommend. Rather, we are called upon to increase happiness  [in general]. To make the world a better place for everyone! Here are a few ideas. Ask: “What can I do today to make your life more wonderful?” — Marshall Rosenberg

Shouldn’t we first be happy so that we could make others happy? Actually, the other way around works faster. The first way tends to trail off into selfishness. The second order forces us to be happier to help others well.

Instead of “Don’t worry, be happy,” “Be happy, then worry.” Let’s first dance and sing like mad. After an hour of that, we’re in better shape to tackle difficult problems if the joyousness not already solved them.


The greatest happiness doesn’t depend on anything. Free happiness! Every baby wakes up smiling for no reason at all but maybe for being alive. Lift up these corners of your mouth, let your eyes twinkle, make your ankles swing, and then, you might find yourself feeling happy. If you’d only smile once you feel happy, it might never come. “Fake it ’till you make it.”

But don’t only act or play a fake role. Go deep into yourself and show the world how much happiness you have inside.

Ah, you’re not really feeling it and you don’t want to pretend? How come hundreds of millions of people have no trouble showing unhappy faces while they don’t know why? (Their rationalizations are typically false.)

Being in a bad mood is mostly an addiction or bad habit, just like smoking cigarettes. Just say no. Choose life. Start now if yesterday is too hard.

“One dilemma we have not solved yet is how to tell people that all is OK and on the other hand that the situation is dire [and intelligent action is urgently needed]. One solution we found is, when we tell people that all is OK, they will tell us that the situation is dire.” — Harvey Jackins

We’re on the right way when we act happy beyond anything we ever knew and we get scared that people will lock us up. (Generally, people will not be scared of/for you when you have still attention for them. If needed, you just invite the nurses sent to get you to dance with you.) “Always do right. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest.” — Harvey Jackins


Happiness is the essence of Judaism, not an adornment. This serious-looking rabbi is not so serious because he’s so great but because he’s struggling to keep it together.

Being happy has an enormous amount of side effects. It is impossible to be happy and, at the same time, be arrogant, stingy, angry, grumpy, tense, jealous, revengeful, worried, dissatisfied, hateful, down, commit suicide, etc. There are times to cry, say no, look somber. But one can always be happy in one’s heart and mind. Besides, the happier you are, the easier it’s to laugh and cry. And learn to say no as if you hand someone the moon.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to two Dutch survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork, and holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam). He taught Re-evaluation Co-counseling, became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. 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 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 lehavdiel bein chayim lechayim: Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff and Rav Meir Lubin. * Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years he wrote hasbara for the Dutch public. His fields of attention now are varied: Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (statistics), Politics (Israel, the US and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight Truth), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, GLBTQAI, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), Ecology and Veganism. Sometimes he's misunderstood because he has such a wide vision that never fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what many love about him. Many of his posts relate to affairs from the news or the Torah Portion of the Week or are new insights that suddenly befell him. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, reassure the doubters but make the self-assured doubt more. He strives to bring a fresh perspective rather than bore you with the obvious. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds must be disputed. In short, his main political positions are: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, democracy, anti the fake peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, Science, Free Will, anti blaming-the-victim and for down-to-earth optimism. Read his blog how he attempts to bridge any discrepancies. He admits sometimes exaggerating to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quit a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * 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. November 13, 2018, he published his 500st blog post with the ToI. 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 a peek outside of your cultural bubble. * NEW: To see other blog posts by him, his overspill blog you can reach by clicking on the Website icon next to his picture at the head of every post. There you may find precursors to later TOI blog posts, addition or corrections of published TOI blog posts, blog posts the TOI will not carry and some thoughts that are too short to be a TOI blog post. Also, the TOI only allows for one blog post per blogger per 24 hours. Sometimes, he has more to say than that. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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