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

Why the most famous rabbi in America and a possible next US president split up

Cory Booker and Shmuley Boteach at happier times. (Courtesy, via The TImes of Israel)
Cory Booker and Shmuley Boteach at happier times. (Courtesy, via The TImes of Israel)

Ever since junior United States Senator from New Jersey Cory Anthony Booker ended his Oxford bromance with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, the latter is been left hurting and confused. Was Cory an anti-Semite after all, you hear him think at every sentence he publicly mourns his loss. He’s asking himself ever since: Why?

Since he has a habit of giving celebrities advice through the media and is telling us about his broken heart about Cory all the time, I’ll now take a leaf from his book and tell him why.

Funny as that may sound, Cory got sick and tired of you. That’s the reason, unimaginable as that may seem to you. He disconnected because he obviously can’t take you any longer. The reasons for that lie in every column you write, including your last one.

But first, let me thank you for bringing Torah to so many people, including Gentiles. And for not giving up when Chabad Lubavitch dumped you. And for giving prominence to fighting genocide. And for not letting humble upbringings and sneers of well-to-do Jews stop you.

Every one of these things is enormous and you should only be treated with respect for it. Having stated this, back to how you are impossible.

1. You use arguments as proofs and guns. You are right because you have the best arguments and therefore others must agree with you.

No, they don’t. Even the best arguments become insufferable when they are used as weapons. Give an opponent in a discussion respect for their viewpoint and person. You may be righty but by demanding people to agree, you become wrong after all.

Most bullies abuse to become top dog. You try to control by proving that you are more right. Most others don’t like this. And since they couldn’t explain it to you – because you are always right – they just walk away.

Also, you don’t let him be him. He must be your student, your friend, yours. He has to stand inside the frame that you give him. Maybe instead, call yourself his friend, his teacher for some time? Surely, he needs to honor his teachers, but that’s not for you to claim. That’s his mitzvah. Your task in friendship is to meekly mind your own obligations.

One thing that gives this away is that frankly, he seems more humble than you. He comes across as proud but not arrogant. He’s a student of yours you could be proud of.

Humility is the answer. Surely, you had to use chutzpah and force to get there, but you got there and now you need to stack up on this most precious character trait. Being famous only gets better with modesty.

2. You act as if you trust Gentiles but you don’t really. Deep down, you believe that Jews are terrible and that Gentiles must be crazy to love us.

Why this checking all the time if you can spot some anti-Semitism in him? It becomes oppressive after some time. Yes, we find it harder to trust than to love but we must. While the Goyim, no doubt, caused our tremendously enlarged talent for being suspicious, not every non-Jew you meet is responsible for that. While trust must be earned, the obligation to give others the benefit of the doubt is on us, not them.

The solution is to trust and love him. That’s what G^d does with us and that’s what we should do with our friends. Unconditional love. It’s much stronger than “I love you because I believe that I can trust you.”

Now, when you repeatedly, humbly and lovingly apologize to Cory for being obnoxious, too-full-of-yourself and mistrustful and he still doesn’t renew your friendship, then I must be wrong. Please try.

Full disclosure: I once made a big effort to see you, to talk to you. I had carefully written out the gist of what I wanted to tell you, not to take of your precious time at a possibly inconvenient moment. But you handed the sheet to an assistant and I never heard from you. Not even a meek: No thank you. Your full right but not fitting your standards, I’m sure.

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: * 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: * 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 (, 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:
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