Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
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The secular in Judaism

For Christianity, the secular and the sacred are opposites

The below text is a brief summary made available for readers’ personal use and for information purposes only. No rights can be derived from it.

Humanism is the greater part of Orthodox Judaism. It’s not just a sweet side effect of being religious—it’s an essential part of it.

To behave well vis-à-vis humans is more important than to do so vis-à-vis G^d because former acts are also part of the latter, so is doubly weighty. How could one ever hope to please the King while mistreating His kids?

Every Commandment, including vis-à-vis humans, is done in His Presence and is therefore significant. The mundane is sacred too. On top of this, Maimonides taught us that also the human body is divine, together with its needs and pleasures. To be solely pleasure-seeking is sinful, but so is rejecting His gift to us of bodily pleasure (within helpful limits).

Further, G^d doesn’t ‘need’ us; humans do. Idol worship means serving an angry god. Idols are mostly moody, greedy, and needy. G^d isn’t. (Classical Christianity portrays (!) G^d as so annoyed that Christians need to pray to intermediaries like Maria and Jesus, something totally forbidden to Jews.)

Abraham already showed that the needs of dusty, thirsty, and hungry idol worshippers are more important than G^d’s requirement to talk with Him.

Rabbi Akiva already said: “Love your fellow like yourself is the foundation of Judaism.” That’s Jewish spirituality!

Hillel already said: “The entire Torah is to not do unto others what you don’t want others to do unto you. The rest is commentary. Now go study.”

Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler said: “The whole of Judaism comes to train a child who knows how to receive into a grownup who knows how to give.”

G^d loves those loved by people. I honor those who honor Me (My kids).

All evil is done in a moment of folly. There are no inherently bad people. G^d loves all people, no questions asked. He wants us firstly to be good to ourselves. No more human sacrifices. No more hurting ourselves. Evil is tangible, not mystical: inflicting hurt that’s unnecessary in the big picture.

No one’s more significant than anyone else. We all come from one couple, Adam and Eve. Murdering humans is so bad since we all are totally unique and irreplaceable. The stronger you socially are, the more Commandments G^d puts on you. Judaism is the foundation of equality and democracy.

You can’t mislead G^d. But, lying is such a bad sin because it disrupts your connection with reality (including G^d), and worse, it tricks others.

The concluding sin we repent for on Yom Kippur is ‘petty’ theft.

When you embarrassed someone in public, you gave away your Afterlife. When you deny G^d, you’re temporarily just a bit confused or ignorant.

There is one G^d means, among many things, there are no competing powers that govern the Uni-verse. Contrasts are two sides of one coin. Judaism is the foundation of the modern natural sciences. Judaism agrees univocally with honest facts, reality, findings, and Science. It is silly to ‘grant G^d’ the Laws of Gravity but not agree He would use Evolution.

The One-and-Only G^d created a world full of contrasts, opposites, and disharmony, and most importantly: grays, surprises, and individuality.

G^d gave us a human brain to think for ourselves, to question, to agree, and to repent and resolve to do better from now on, whatever is in order. When a Command of G^d makes no sense, we need to think harder and find the hidden rationale or conclude we misunderstood the Command.

Jews are G^d’s business card and designated teachers to humanity. The Torah is wisdom for all. Smart, selfish Gentiles would fully respect Jews. Jews who reject the Jewish Tradition must begin to reinvent the wheel. Yet, life’s too short to get to the same depth and wisdom in one lifetime. Better to investigate and clean up the Tradition than to throw it out.

The Afterlife must be great. But the greatest is this life, with Free Will, giving life, choosing life, saving lives, and seeking physical immortality.

G^d invites each of us to partner with Him to perfect the past (therapy), the present, and the future of people and the Earth, to do us a pleasure.

When we pray, more than G^d needs to hear us (He does, He does), we need to hear us. When Jews are not Agnostics, they do idol worshipping.

The Torah mainly addresses men, because when they behave, humanity will be saved. G^d is mainly addressed in the male form because Hebrew has no neuter (‘it’), and a female god would give wrong vibes to most men.

The Torah is the world’s first text to acknowledge women’s importance, superiority, vulnerability (not: weakness), and rights. G^d is a feminist.

The task of religious Jews is not to please G^d. It’s the opposite. The whole of Judaism is here to strengthen us to be the best person we can be.

No more Prophets. No human knows objectively what G^d wants. We only have our private grasp of what His Wishes. But we can read what G^d and His Prophets demand, no? Yes, but we only have our understanding of it.

When you’re not humble and happy, you’re violating the Commandments.

When you see or hear any Orthodox Jew violating any of the above, you are witnessing his assimilation to the surrounding cultures, not Judaism.

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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