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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

‘The Messiah has arrived!’

Two recent stories for you translated from the Hebrew

My friend is a rabbi in a different shul than mine and invited me for a meal at his house for Rosh Hashannah. But, first, come to my shul. OK.

We’re walking to his shul. He’s the chazzan there for many years already. He’s half my age but 100% my 6’5″ (1.95 m).

We’re approaching the crowd, chatting in front of the little sanctionary, waiting for their prayer leader.

Suddenly I see someone in a wheelchair. Must be about 90. He is pushed our way, but he wants to get up. His keeper tries to stop him to no avail.

He stands up, arms stretches up in my direction and says with a beam from ear to ear: Give me a blessing.

It’s obvious he’s been waiting to see me all his life.

A little fear enters my heart. I learned how to give blessings, but the old Ashkenazic coldness, apparently, has not left completely yet.

I tried a little: But he’s the rabbi. No trick can detract him. He’s fixated on me, I’m the one, and he’s not letting go of this chance of a lifetime.

What shall I wish you?

He names one thing that’s most urgent for him and I build a whole blessing around it.

He’s so pleased. More about seeing me than about anything I said, I think. Completely satisfied, he leans back into the chair. I made his day/life?

I said to my friend: And we both thought the Messiah needed to be a Talmud scholar.

***

There is this guy in my shul with an ego so large that I often wonder how he gets through the door. He’s short but so fat that he seems to burst out of his tight clothes. But what most shows is how pleased he is with himself. He parades around as if to say: Aren’t you all lucky I’m here?!

This Yom Kippur I sat unusually close to him. I stared a bit at him. How he could talk even during the chazzan’s part of Ne’eelah—the holiest of the day. He’s someone who joins the weekly Shabbat service at 5 AM. He knows what goes on.

He was jabbering away with his neighbors having the time of his life during the scariest time of the year. I thought: G^d doesn’t show me this for nothing. I must do something with this.

This Shabbat, I knew what. Just before the Kiddush after shul, I walked over to him. He was talking away with two guys eating up his every word. And I said:

Shabbat shalom. I must talk to you. When we have something positive to tell someone, and we don’t, we violate all the laws of slander.

He says with bulging eyes: You have something positive to tell me? The Messiah must have arrived.

We never talk, but he hates my ego as much as I hate his; it needs no words.

I say: I noticed that you can’t stand it when people around you don’t feel good. You talk to them, tell them stories, jokes …

He laughs and says: You pulled it off. Amazing.

***

Have a Happy Feast of Tabernacles!

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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