Our First Patriarch showed the way
What was the first paradigm shift that made Abraham a stellar leader? He asked, of the most wicked city there was: Should the innocent die with the guilty ones? Could not enough saintly ones be found to save everyone?!
But our Jewish State has a government minister who reportedly said: Israel should wipe out the city from which a dozen of terrorist suspects emerged. A Member of Knesset of his hate group wanted the city burned down.
When such racist bullies say they want a State run on Jewish Law, they don’t mean the Jewish Tradition. Like George Santos, they mean Jew-ish. They want a select set of laws enacted while ignoring the rest. That does not jive with Jewish Law. We don’t get to pick and choose. It’s G^d’s Law.
The same is true for the plea of the supposedly religious ministers and MKs to mandate capital punishment for certain crimes. In Jewish Law, the 20 or more Rabbinic Judges aimed to never award the death penalty. They had to seek the tiniest excuse not to execute. If the guy was actually guilty, G^d lacked no means to get him from the playing field. Such is Jewish Law.
(Here is a list of earlier posts by me in reverse chronological order against capital punishment in Israel: Capital punishment in Israel? No, Rabbi Boteach, the death penalty is barbarian, and hate is idolatry and dumb, Enemy images in Judaism, https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/capital-punishment-and-laudable-deceit-as-exceptions/, Anger at terrorists is not what Jews need, On Capital Punishment and being more Jewish than the Pope, and 15 reasons why Israel should not have the death penalty for terrorists. Look for the upcoming Death Penalty Action forum on Zoom.)
I don’t blame these politicians, though they should get jail time. They always spewed hatred for Muslims. But I blame the High Court for letting them serve. Yet, I don’t think the Court is evil too. The judges lack wisdom. At times they rule wisely; sometimes they don’t. We value them for the first. For the latter, they must apologize and correct their rulings, urgently.
We can even find rabbis who say they want total personal freedom but, it turns out, only for themselves. As soon as someone different from them wants to be taken seriously by the State, they scream: That’s a takeover.
On the very opposite of the aisle, some politicians are losing it too. Not We, the People, misspeak but some who should represent us. One even urged us to take up arms against the reform plans. A former Chief of Staff called for mutiny in case of war if the reforms go through. Lock Them Up.
BTW: Calling revenge vandalism by 20 young Jews for a genocidal murder a pogrom is as Antisemitic as calling Zionists or Israelis Nazis; not according to me but according the Working Definition of Antisemitism.
Some readers don’t get that I’m harsh on both the Looney Left and the extreme right. I do neither. For me, it’s not left or right. It’s right or wrong.
NB: many political, journalistic, security, and police personnel lie. But the IDF can be trusted (although most generals are one-sidedly leftwing) since both left-wing and right-wing conscripts serve, so coverups are impossible.
What’s more ridiculous: to protest the PM’s wife getting her hair done on national disruption day, to condemn the protest, or is it all a Purim joke?
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