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

You’re a happy person, aren’t you?

This question the bus driver asked me after I had exchanged a few sentences with him. We had the bus to ourselves so no one got jealous from our hearty conversation.

Yes, I am a happy person.

I wish I were too. Can’t you give me a few tips, the driver asked.

Sure. First tip. Pull up the corners of your mouth. But not by pretending you are happy. Really from the heart. That action will, if you do it sincerely, generate the feeling of happiness. And once you feel it, it will be even easier to continue doing so. (Don’t wait to act until you feel happy. First act; the feelings will follow.)

Make sure you do it for no particular reason, without any cause. When our happiness doesn’t depend on anything exterior, only on our decision, nothing can take our happiness away. We decide.

Next tip. Being in a bad mood is mostly an addiction or a bad habit. Just like smoking cigarettes. Just say no. Choose life. Start now.

People who say that they don’t want to be happy normally mean that they first want to cry about something painful. There is nothing wrong with crying. As all babies know and most grownups have forgotten: crying enough cleans away hurts and leaves one happy. (Really crying, with tears; not just grumping.) But when you can’t cry, be happy. Refuse to be in a bad mood. (Happy people also have an easier time crying.)

Next tip. Try to make other people happy. You can’t try that without becoming happy yourself.

Give. The more you give the more you become a happy camper/giver. We may also sometimes ask others to make us happy but most of the time, to give is the most superior expression of being us. Give a smile. Lend a listening ear. Make a little blessing or wish for someone.

Maybe some people will sometimes think that you are crazy if you are so happy. Just look them in the eyes and friendly wink. Wink to connect with their happy self that is waiting to be released from serious captivity. Smile at them. (Don’t be happy in a private bubble. Invite them in.) Invite them to a free hug, dance or song. (Across the gender gap, we may make two people of the same sex hug.)

I won’t blame people who feel sad or numb from hardship and oppression. Things do need to shape up in the world. Just don’t think for a second that a hard life makes happiness impossible. Not true. Many people in truly miserable lives know that they can’t afford the “luxury” of being sad. Happiness may be a lifesaver, a necessity.

Being happy has enormous side effects. It is impossible to be happy and, at the same time, be arrogant, stingy, angry, tense, jealous, revengeful, worried, dissatisfied, hateful, down, etc. There are times to cry, to say no, to look somber. But one can always be happy in one’s heart and mind. Besides, it is best to say no as if you hand someone the moon.

Judaism teaches that being constantly happy is a major vocation for every Jew. Living happily costs less energy and feels better. Do yourself a favor and be happy. It will lift everyone’s spirit.

Then I had to get off the bus. The driver was much gladdened by my tips. Many blessings rolled off his tong. How about you? Does this inspire you?

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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