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

The Vigil of the Watching 2020

The Eve of Pesach has a special name, the Vigil of the Watching — לֵיל שִׁמֻּרִים הוּא לַיהוָה, Exodus 12:42. That’s not referring to us observing all during the Seder Pesach. Rather, this expresses that at this night, G^d is extra watching over us. It’s the safest night of the year forever. That’s when He killed the firstborn kids in Egypt of our enemy and not ours. In 2020, we celebrate our Exodus on the same day as then, a Thursday. But also in 2020, in Israel, we’re under total lock-down. I’m sure, women are allowed to give birth in a hospital still (at home, in most cases, it would be safer and easier). But besides urgent medical visits, no one will be allowed out except police and soldiers — and I salute them.

G^d Himself killed these Egyptian firstborns. But the blood we put on the doorposts was to ward off the Angel of Death. So that was not against the Plague going on outside. The Angel of Death always was making its rounds to finish off people whose end of life had come. Death not from the Decree against the first-born but from accidents, illness or old age. That the blood on the doorposts stopped. (So, maybe the firstborns of the Erev Rav, the Mixed Multitudes, were saved but their elderly not.)

Two Egyptian firstborns were spared, for very different reasons. Pharaoh escaped alive, so he could witness the disaster he had created and finally tell us to go. But his firstborn son didn’t survive. And Bithia, his firstborn daughter survived because she was a total saint. And also her stepchild lived to tell the Story, the one she had drawn from the water, Moses.

G^d knew where the Jews were and needed no special signs. And also the Angel of Death knew. The doorpost blood was a sign for neither of them. It was put on the inside of the doorposts! This, to tell us: you are guarded, you are safe. And we are supposed to feel at the Seder. That G^d has His Eyes on us. That we are safe. That we are looked after.

Unfortunately, the plague now going around outside doesn’t give that safety. It’s a strange year. We didn’t make the blessing over blooming fruit trees, did not say Kiddush Levanah, sold our chameitz over the Internet, had no kids to search for chameitz, and sat alone at the Seder.

May, in the merit of our unity and enthusiasm for Pesach, many of the infected get away with only light symptoms, may we not infect anyone else anymore, may the seriously sick be fully healed and not at the expense of others who need a doctor, may the lives of ‘hopeless cases’ be saved anyway, may the bereaved be healed from Heaven, and may a financial collapse be staved off and we all return to stability and safety.

May we have learned permanent lessons of being grateful for what we have and of working incessantly for a better world and for a decade, skip addictions, entertainment, and time-killing, to fight wasting and spoiling, oppression and exploitation, and to save lives, justice, and the planet.

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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