TGIS: Thank G-d It’s Shabbat

Rabbi Thurgood December 2016 thumbnail

Shalom Friends!

I hope that you are having a wonderful week and are looking forward to the best day of the week ahead – Shabbat!

My 2 minute Parsha for Mattot-Masei is called “Wisdom and Illusion” and you can find it here. In it, I explore why Moshe’s final mission on earth was to make war on Midian, and what that teaches us about the purpose of wisdom in our lives.

We are now deeply within the Three Weeks of National Mourning over the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem, and I have put together a set of Torah messages for these three weeks that I’m sending out in the daily Torah WhatsApp message. I have found within myself that each year these three weeks feel a little sadder. I think that’s a good thing – Rav Soloveitchik and others make the point that it takes time and effort to feel the loss of the Beit HaMikdash; it’s not like (God forbid) losing a loved-one in which one’s sadness is spontaneous and felt, the sorrow for a tragedy that occurred before we were born requires a process of identification with that tragedy that requires years. I am glad (if that is the correct word) that each year I do feel the sadness more keenly, as I view this as a sign that I am becoming more aligned with Hashem’s pain over the Temple. Part of it also probably has to do with growing older and experiencing loss generally. The Mishna Brura tells us that the reason that we prefer a Chazan for the Yamim Noraim to be 30 years old or more is because such a person will surely have experienced a broken heart. The Kotzker Rebbe once said “There is nothing more whole than a broken heart” and although we are not a sorrowful people, there is no denying that we have had a sorrowful history, and for these three weeks we live with the enormity of that loss.

In a not-entirely-unrelated note, Neill Snape sent me this outstanding article by Dr David Hazony. He and his brother Yoram have fascinating insights and ideas and I recommend just about anything written or said by the Hazony brothers if you are interested in fresh perspectives and quality thinking. The thrust of the article is that, outside of Orthodox and Israeli Jews, Jewish identity is in trouble. In David’s words: This next generation is no longer moored to Jewish peoplehood through guilt, or habit, or peer pressure. Jewish identity, if it is to reside in them at all, will have to compete for their allegiance in a brutally efficient market of identification. So far, “Jewish” is failing to compete. Whilst these sad sentiments are nothing new, his observation about the “market of identification” is right on the button. In families in which being Jewish is a basic part of everyday life – from the food to the prayers to Shabbat – have a different experience of Jewish identity to those for whom it is simply another part of the collage that is their identity. After sharing the sad (and by now fairly well-known) statistics on the skyrocketing rate of assimilation around the world and plummeting rate of identification, he says: Oblivion knocks. The two obvious alternatives—aliya and Orthodoxy—require so radical a change in one’s lifestyle that they’re non-starters for most American Jews. If those were the only options, most would choose oblivion. What’s the solution? He proposes that “Israeli identity” as a national marker takes the place of “Jewish identity” as a religious label. It speaks to the idea that I have mentioned from Rabbi Yoel Bin-Nun, that it is not correct to think today of being in the golah, the exile. Although the Temple is still not rebuilt, and we are still longing for redemption, we should rather see ourselves as the tfutza, the diaspora – the communities outside of, but connected to, the Jewish national enterprise in the Land of Israel. It’s a long article, but a powerful one, and I highly recommend it. The one point I would say, however, is that his comments about Orthodoxy being a non-option are less relevant to South Africa, where today every member of the community has a brother, uncle or cousin who keeps Shabbat, and it is not in fact such a foreign experience – especially if we realise that this is a key to saving our families and communities.

I am delighted to report that our Mechitza Working Group has made significant progress on the Mechitza project. We have clarity on how it will be built, the transition between having it up and down (for Yamim Noraim, December and big smachot), and are working on three different designs – one with a lot of text, one with a little, and one with none. For the two text options, I ask you to please vote on which texts you think would be most appropriate in the form I made here. It should only take you a minute or two.

In just under two weeks, I am delighted to announce that we will be beginning Hebrew Nights! Join Bev Coblentz for Hebrew Reading or Martin Chesno for Conversational Hebrew for seven 90 minute classes that will change your relationship with the language! Spaces are limited, so please contact Wendy right away.

One of the weekly shiurim from which I learn the most is the Dirshu Mishna Brura shiur. 5 days a week, we learn one page of Shulchan Aruch with the Mishna Brura by ourselves, and then on Sunday nights we get together to review the week’s work. After consistently learning for about 18 months, we have, thank God, finished the first two volumes of Mishna Brura and are beginning the third! This one is the laws of Shabbat – and I highly recommend that you join us. We will once again be offering self-study packs (in Hebrew and English), daily WhatsApp summaries from Rabbi Ari Taback in Joburg, weekly learning, and monthly tests to keep you on your toes (optional!). You will discover that after learning the laws of Shabbat consistently and regularly, your Shabbat experience will be very different and enriched. It is also great to be learning together with people from all over Cape Town – and indeed, all over the world. We will be celebrating the completion of Volume 2 and the start of Volume 3 with a special dinner next Wednesday night 26 July. We will be joined by Chief Rabbi Goldstein who is celebrating his own siyum hashas, completion of the entire Babylonian Talmud (wow!). Please reply to Rabbi Dani Brett on 0824913375 if you’re interested, and more details will be out soon. I look forward to seeing you there!

Aviva, Shalva and I wish you a Shabbat Shalom.

Rabbi Sam Thurgood

Announcements – Parshat Matot Masei

The Rabbi, Rebbetzin, Chairman and Committee wish you Shabbat Shalom.

Mazal Tov to Dubbi and Lies Rabinowitz on the birth of a granddaughter born to Tamar and Gregg Fine.

A contribution has kindly been made to the brocha by the Landau Family to celebrate Hayley’s birthday.

Alex and Hayley Landau are kindly sponsoring the Children’s Table to celebrate Adaya, Natan and Yair’s 4th birthday.

Richard and Joanne Goldstein are kindly sponsoring an older Children’s Table to celebrate Tristan’s 12th birthday.

The consecration of the tombstone for late Rene Gillis takes place this Sunday, 23 July, at 11:30am at Pinelands 2.

Rosh Chodesh Av falls on Monday 24 July.

Mazal Tov to Maeve Samuels on winning a Gold Medal in the (Masters) 70+ Tennis Singles as well as a Silver Medal in the (Masters) 70+ Tennis Mixed Doubles at the Maccabi Games.

Mazal Tov to Jacqui Boyd on winning Gold Medals in the (Masters) 35+ Singles as well as in the (Masters) 35+ Tennis Mixed Doubles at the Maccabi Games.

Survey: Please take a moment to fill out this online survey from the Chief Rabbi  to help uplift Shuls around the country.

We need more volunteers for Eyes and Ears to protect our community!  To reach our goal we need another 4 volunteers.

Please remember to support our Rosh Hashana Magazine advertisers.

Thank you to Jos Snape, Lee-Ann Gelb and Bev Shrand for assisting with Brocha duty this Shabbat.





Adrian Chiger Father Saturday 22 July
Brian Jacobson Wife Saturday 22 July
Joan Zieff Aunt Saturday 22 July
Jeff Scher Mother Sunday 23 July
Muriel Levin Father Monday 24 July
Larry Forman Grandfather Monday 24 July
Harry Friedland Father Tuesday 25 July
Millicent Noik Father Tuesday 25 July
Howard Hack Mother Wednesday 26 July
Beverley Zinn Mother Thursday 27 July
Hazel Susman Mohter Friday 28 July
Rosalind Goldman Mother Friday 28 July

The Yahrzeit begins the evening before the date



Tristan Goldstein Friday 21 July
Tony Rubin Saturday 22 July
Nadia Saban Saturday 22 July
Joseph Melzer Sunday 23 July
Harry Gottschalk Monday 24 July
Sharon Mamulis Monday 24 July
Beverley Coblentz Tuesday 25 July
Selwyn Furman Tuesday 25 July
Talya Bachmann Wednesday 26 July
Goldie Glick Wednesday 26 July
Jeanine Hack Wednesday 26 July
Chantal Solomons Wednesday 26 July
Leora Sternberg Wednesday 26 July




 Phillip and Diana Henning  Monday 24 July


Shabbat Times – Parshat Matot Masei

Earliest Candles  4:56pm
Latest Candles  5:41pm
Mincha / Maariv  5:45pm
Shabbat Shacharit 8:45am
Shabbat Mincha 5:00pm
Shabbat ends 6:36pm



Weekday Times

Shacharit (Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday) 6:50am
Shacharit (Monday, Thursday) 6:40am
Shacharit (Sunday and Public Holidays) 8:00am
Shacharit (Rosh Chodesh) 6:40am
Mincha followed by Maariv  5:45pm


Torah Reading Page Numbers – Parshat Matot Masei

Artscroll Living Torah Hirsch Hertz
Torah  900 822 627  702
Torah 918 840 905 714
Maftir 934 862 648 724
Haftorah  1193 1216 905 725



Weekly Learning

Shabbat Morning 10 mins before shiur  Children’s Learning Rabbi Thurgood Shul
Shabbat Morning After Brocha Parsha of the Week  Rabbi Thurgood Shul
Shabbat Afternoon After Mincha Seudah Shlishit Various Shul
Sunday 8:40-9:10am Sefer Igrot Moshe Rabbi Thurgood Shul
Sunday 8:00-9:00pm Weekly Dirshu review Rabbi Thurgood Shul
Monday – Friday 7:35-8:05am Sefer HaChinnuch Rabbi Thurgood Shul
Monday -Wednesday 30 mins before Mincha Chumash with Rashi: Every Parsha from 4th aliyah Rabbi Thurgood Shul
Tuesday 8:00-10:00pm Yeshiva of Cape Town learning sessions Bachurim Shul
Wednesday  8:00-9:00pm Women’s weekly Gemora shiur Rabbi Thurgood Private Home


Security – Parshat Matot Masei

We would like to thank: Team 2 for doing security duty this Shabbat.

If you are not able to do your duty, please swap with someone else.

Meet the Family

Every week, we feature a member or family of Beit Midrash Morasha and tell you a little about them. If you would like to be featured, or if you have a suggestion of someone whom you would like featured, please let us know!


T: 021 434 8680
F: 021 434 3014
First National Bank
Sea Point Branch 201809
Current Account
Number: 50240085164
Click the button above