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

The happiest or the scariest day of the year?

Judaism tells us that the fifteenth day of the month of Av (this year: coming Thursday evening and Friday) is the happiest day of the Jewish calendar. Secular Israeli culture has branded it a Jewish Valentine’s Day of sorts. In any case, what a contrast with the saddest day that falls just 6 (or 5) days earlier!

Now, some in Christian circles (not all Christians) worry or look with great trepidation at coming Friday night because it will show the longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st Century, invisible in the US but observable in Israel (beginning Friday, from 8:14 PM in the evening until the last piece of the eclipse disappears at 2:28 AM on Saturday morning)! (It’s kind of funny to dub a total occultation through the verb “seeing” (though there’s plenty to see), but you know what’s meant.) And Christians learned from the rabbis that an eclipse is an ominous sign.

The latter see a solar eclipse as a warning to the enemies of the Jews. Yet, rather than to rejoice in that Divine anger, Jews should pray for their repentance. A lunar eclipse, on the other hand, would be a bad omen for the Jews, G-d’s Own lunatics (our calendar follows the moon).

In our times, people look for this heavenly abnormality in excitement, and Jews would want to make the same blessing over eclipses as over lightning and falling stars, but the Sages disagree. The Talmud doesn’t bring eclipses in the list of natural phenomena that warrant a blessing. Eclipses are bad signs and need prayer and repentance, not praise. (Though, there will be meteors too, so we might be able to bless anyway.)

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However, many Christians are not really sad at terrible times coming! Not that they are pessimists or sadomasochists. Reportedly, they believe that when all hell will break loose – Heaven forbid – that will be the fulfillment of predictions regarding the End of Times. Redemption will come, benefiting only the good people, those who merited to survive the battle of Armageddon, G-d’s war to end the world. Their Book of Revelation tells of a final war – when and how it begins, who lives and who dies. And of course, they hope to be among the worthy ones.

They are a little wrong here, no offense. They need to learn something from the Jews. Don’t tell me that that would be unprecedented. The rabbis are very clear about this. True Prophecies must come true to the letter – on one condition. They must be nice foretellings. Heavenly Predictions that are stern do not need to come true at all! They are not forecasts but rather warning signs. And when they are heeded (soul-searching, repentance) they will not materialize to the slightest.

Therefore Jews never ever pray for and always against war. (In any war so many innocent people get hurt and killed. Any real peace is better than the smallest of wars.) Every human being is created in G-d’s image and hopefully deserves a good life and eternal life – there are no bad people. Only good people who do bad things – which they may correct.

In any case, Jews are not too worried about a moon that seems extra large, red (the red can be both during the middle of a total eclipse and without eclipse, when a full moon is very low in the sky), blue or eclipsed. We need to repent because that is our main contribution to our own personal development and to evolution of intelligent life on earth.

But none of this will eclipse the happiest day of the year!  Happy T”u be’Av!


PS: I mentioned in my post of yesterday that the enormous stone that fell from the Kotel (though it’s one of its smaller blocks) was estimated to weigh a 100 kilogram but it has now been (re)moved and seems to actually weigh more like 200 kilogram.

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:
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