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

The importance of Avinu Malkeinu

Avinu Malkeinu, our Father, our King, we say repeatedly in the Prayers of Rosh haShannah, Jewish New Year. Why not just Avinu? Why not just Malkeinu?

We may have seen people who really seem to fear Heaven. They constantly and feverishly beg for Divine mercy, away from absolute sternness, and for receiving goodness and reward.

However, in the extreme, they do not have a pleasant life and are not pleasant people to interact with. Everything revolves around deserving and not deserving, and a stream of judgments never leaves their mouth and brain alone. They are still chewing the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Good and Evil – Genesis 2:18, 3:5).

But a Jewish life should be pleasant (Proverbs 3:17) and we should greet everyone with a smile. So something is off when we live in constant fear. Fear of Heaven should be like a safety belt: for when we go off the rails, that we don’t fly out towards our death. But safety belts should not hinder breathing. Life is meant to be a gift, not a visitation, scourge.

In Islam, a most popular prayer is G-d is Great. Such an imbalance has left a trail of blood the world over, all throughout history. If one is too stern, tremendous aggression will burst forth one day.

In contrast, we may have met people who really understand that G-d is good and loving. They bask in His light all day long, which makes them less alone and life more pleasant.

However, in the extreme, their lives are idle, they do not strive to become better people, and they have become or stayed too ignorant or unaware of worthy limits and goals.

But we should challenge ourselves, use our Free Will and improve ourselves all the time. Stagnation means decline. G-d’s whole intention with creating the Universe was to be generous, but that should not lead us to merely live a life of receiving and hedonism, without any attempt to be a partner with G-d in elevating ourselves and mending the world. That would be such a waste.

In Christianity, a most popular prayer is the Our Father. Such an imbalance has left a trail of blood the world over, all throughout history. If one is too sweet, tremendous aggression will burst forth one day.

So we need both. To see G-d as loving and to see Him as stern – at the same time. To live well, to feel good most of the time, we need to see His goodness, generosity and omniscient understanding. To live well, to have a responsible and meaningful life in which we set limits and challenge ourselves, we need to recognize Him as an absolute omnipotent Monarch.

On Rosh haShanah we make clear again that He’s our King. But we do not forget He’s our Father too.

Shanah tovah (assessable as good) umtuka (and experienced as sweet) for everyone!

About the Author
The author is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (DES - Diethylstilbestrol), 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 vegan for 8 years now. 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. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me. To see other blog posts by him, a second blog - under construction - can be found by clicking on the Website icon next to his picture.
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