TGIS: Thank G-d It’s Shabbat
I hope that you are having a great week and looking forward to a very special Shabbat ahead. This week our Shabbat candles will acquire a special significance: Since load shedding is scheduled from 6-8:30pm, the candles will fulfil their very practical (and intended) purpose of giving us light for Shabbat. There are several institutions in Jewish life that I feel a little ambivalent about, since they were created for such pragmatic reasons, but today have a value that is primary symbolic. Shabbat candles (on a non-load shedding Shabbat) is a good example of this. Although the Torah does not command us to light candles for Shabbat, the Rabbis used their mandate from Hashem to create a new Mitzva (one of the seven Rabbinic Mitzvot) of lighting candles for the Friday night meal. Rashi and Rambam debate the primary reason for this, but it is either for Oneg Shabbat (enjoying Shabbat, and South African Jews now know better than most communities in the world that it is far more enjoyable to have light than to be in the dark) or for Sh’lom Bayit (a peaceful dinner where people are not falling over one another and getting irritated). Now that these goals are achieved through electric lights, what is the role of Shabbat candles? The basic answer is that they have become symbolic, as I mentioned. A beautiful and powerful symbol, to be sure – a symbol of peace and enjoyment, of the light of Shabbat, and so much more, but I cannot help but feel that something is lost when a part of Jewish life goes from the practical to the symbolic. Another example of this dynamic is the Ketubah. Originally created as one of humanity’s first antenuptial contracts, it is supposed to enforce both spouses’ legal responsibilities within the marriage as well as to lay out financial arrangements for the dissolution of the marriage. Today that this role is largely eclipsed by the civil antenuptial that we sign, the Ketubah too is a symbol of connubial commitment rather than a relevant financial document.
It is important to note, however, that both of these points that I have made apply only to Rabbinic institutions. That is, the Divinely-mandated, but human-created parts of Jewish life, which were done for reasons of human logic and with a clearly understood purpose. Not so the Mitzvot of the Torah. The Mitzvot are from Hashem and are ultimately beyond our understanding. We can never definitely state “the reason” for any Mitzva (Rav Kook once wrote that any good reason for a Mitzvot is one of the reasons, but only one of them) since it comes from the Godly intelligence which is beyond our reality. My favourite analogy for this is that of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, who compares each Mitzva to a work of art, and the explanations of the Mitzva to art criticism. Each individual or generation may see something different in a particular work of art, but ultimately the piece itself stands, existing beyond all that is said to define and describe it.
All that to say this: We can have a special appreciation for our Shabbat candles tonight! And whilst I’m on the topic, I cannot resist sharing what I heard from Rabbi Herschel Shachter (Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva University) a couple of years ago, that Rabbi Soloveitchik believed that since the purpose of the candles was to add light, we cannot light the Shabbat candles with lights on in the room, and must turn off the dining-room lights before lighting Shabbat candles. Interesting!
In other news, Purim was, as always, a real treat this week. It was especially meaningful for me to follow the reading in our most beautiful new Megillah – which (referencing some ideas from above) truly is a work of art. I am learning to appreciate the work of a master Sofer, each letter perfectly written and the beauty of the calligraphic nature of Ktav Ashurit, the formal Torah script.
Aviva, Shalva, Tzuriya, Azriel and I wish you a Shabbat in which you perfect the art of spiritual restoration and connection.
Rabbi Sam Thurgood
Weekly Committee Rebuild Update
As a new feature of TGIS we will try and keep the community up to date on rebuild progress. Some weeks there may be nothing to report.
We received many books, joinery and office content from the restoration company this week. The books have been categorised. Some have gone into the Shul and some are in storage.
Torah Reading Page Numbers – Parashat
Shabbat Times – Parashat Shemini
Announcements – Parashat Shemini
The Rabbi, Rebbetzin, Chairman and Committee wish you Shabbat Shalom.
The Kiddush-Bracha is kindly sponsored by Lance and Kim Katz to celebrate their anniversary.
Shabbat services: Herzlia Weizmann Primary School Hall. Entrance 40 Kloof or 65 Regent Roads.
Weekday Mincha/Maariv: Sephardi Shul. Entrance 40 Kloof (parking available) or 65 Regent Roads.
Weekday Shacharit: Sunday, Monday and Thursday in Sephardi Hall; Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday in Sephardi Shul. Entrance 65 Regent Road only.
If you have not claimed your tallit bag that was left in the Shul at the time of the fire, please contact Roydon Sacks on 082.491.1467. Take a look at the photos here: http://bit.ly/TallitotandTefillin
Community learning programme in honour of our shul: http://hadranalach.com/692 Choose Tanach, Mishna or Talmud – let’s achieve another great milestone together.
Join Junie-Punie for great Children’s Services every Shabbat at 10:15am – share brachot, Parsha of the week and special Children’s stories. All ages up to Grade R.
Join Josh and Jess at 10:15am on the AstroTurf for children’s service.
The Yahrzeit begins the evening before the date
|David and Wendy Shochot||Monday 1 April|
|Selwyn and Jennifer Trakman||Monday 1 April|
|Sam and Glenda Galansky||Thursday 4 April|
|Basil and Rita Platzky||Thursday 4 April|
|Selwyn and Andrea Schiff||Thursday 4 April|
Security – Parashat Shemini-
We 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!
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