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

The tallest menorah, like a modern Tower of Babel, isn’t kosher

Our teachers are very clear. G^d put us in this world to join with Him in completing the works of Creation. We should both complete the human being (circumcision and morally) and remove all suffering from it.

The Jewish idea of serving G^d is not that of the idol-worshipper, to flatter, bribe and please a disgruntled god, Heaven forbid. It’s rather, to humbly team up with Him and He knows we can. The very opposite is to try and outdo Him. To try to tower over Him and dwarf His name as the All-powerful. The sin of the building of the Tower of Babel.

Messianic fans of the Menorah at Fifth Ave and the one in Sedorot claim now that theirs is the tallest in the world, standing at 36 feet. (Competition (the Olympics) is a Greek pastime and goes against the Jewish spirit). But ten meters is already too tall for making the blessing, fulfilling our holy obligation or spreading the news of the Miracle of Chanukah.

And therefore, it’s ironic to see how an overstatement of the Commandment on Jews to light a menorah for Chanukah is nullified by unlearned parties who erected such gigantic menorahs that lighting them with a blessing would be a serious sin and does not fulfill the Commandment because the lights are too high above the ground.

In typical fashion, disrespecting the special role that Jews got to play in this world, Christians for Israel director Roger van Oordt wrote in overblown fashion: Amid “constant threat from rockets, we want to bring the light of the Menorah.” That is such chutzpah. Only Jews can bring the light of Chanukah. Self-identified friends of the Jews who cannot restrict their association with us to being humbly helpful are not helping Redemption. Their implicit lack of respect for Jews is prolonging our darkness.

***

I did not find one YouTube clip where all the words of the blessings are said in proper Hebrew pronunciation. Here is how to do it. The underlined ah is pronounced oh by Ashkenazics and the underlined t as an s; the o is pronounced by German Jews as ou, by US Ashkenazim as oa and by Chassidic Jews as oy:

One lights the extra candle.

One says: Baruch attah Addonai Elloheinu Mellech haolam, asher kiddǝshanu bǝmitz-votav, vǝtzivanu lǝhadlik neir [shel] Channukah.

Baruch attah Addonai Elloheinu Mellech haolam, she’asah nisim la’avoteinu bahyamim haheim bazzǝman hazzeh.

Only on the first night one lights: Baruch attah Addonai Elloheinu Mellech haolam, she’hechehyanu vǝkiyǝmanu vǝhigiannu lazzǝman hazzeh.

Now you light the candle the most to your left first.

If there are more candles to light than one, one always lights with the extra candle and not with one of the candles for each of the days.

These holy blessings are not songs. It’s better to make the blessings drily but correctly than to sing them nicely but wrongly. There is plenty to sing afterward.

These are popular faulty pronunciations: B’ruch Baruch Adnai Addǝnai Ellohyeinu Melleh-cha‘olam kidshanu bǝmitz-votah-vǝtzivanu shannukah hannukah lavoteinu bǝyamim bazman bǝzǝman bǝzman ubizman she’echehyanu shechehyanu vǝkimanu vǝhigiyannu lazman.

***

To really have the best Chanukah ever, we need to welcome Jonathan Pollard to Israel. President Trump, what is taking you so long?

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. 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 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 1400 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/ 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. * 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 (https://diethylstilbestrol.co.uk/studies/des-and-psychological-health/), 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.
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