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South Africa’s New President Receives a Rabbi’s Blessing

by Menachem Posner –

Twenty-eight years ago, Cyril Ramaphosa stood outside Cape Town’s city hall, holding a microphone for Nelson Mandela, who had just been released from prison.

This week, days before he assumed the South African presidency, Ramaphosa stood at the very same spot, celebrating 100 years since his mentor’s birth, and received the blessings of Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi Asher Deren, chairman of the Rabbinical Association of the Western Cape.

Deren evoked the assurance of the Rebbe—Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory—addressed to the South African Jewish community, assuring them that South Africa would remain a safe and prosperous place to live until the arrival of Moshiach.

As a Kohen (priestly descendant of Aaron, brother of Moses), Deren conferred the biblical Priestly Blessing upon Ramaphosa, the ANC’s leader and the country’s current deputy president. “When I lifted my hands to bless him, he very humbly bowed forward and seemed very moved by the gesture,” Deren told

“There was a feeling of uncertainty and urgency,” Deren continued, “but these are also exciting times for our community. We are looking forward to a new era of increased cooperation, transparency, safety and prosperity for all South Africans.”

Commenting on the overwhelmingly positive and optimist transformation that has swept the country, South Africa’s Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein commented that “the Lubavitcher Rebbe predicted this!”

President Ramaphosa and Rabbi Deren at a ceremony two days before Ramaphosa was sworn in.


  • 3. Moishe pipek wrote:

    Did a levy wash his hands before he gave the blessing?. Does one think that this countey will stop being anti-israel.

  • 4. Moishe pipek wrote:

    Maybe the kohanim from 770 should go out in the street and bless our fellow residents.

  • 5. Anonymous wrote:

    To all the negative commentary. Why would you not give him the benefit of the doubt. I assume he didn’t actually say the full proper nusach. It was more a show of respect than anything else.

  • 6. The kangeroo wrote:

    # 5 “I assume” This country is anti israel and pro paleswine.It degraded it”s mission to Israel when Trump recognized Jerusalem.Such a country is not a candidate for a blessing some of us still have Jewish pride (geon yacob etc)

  • 7. why is this not proper wrote:

    If he is the new President then he is compared to a king.
    Does not a king warrant blessings??
    If he is a good man then why is there even a question?
    He should be blessed – especially if he is doing good.
    Let him be blessed and continue to do good.

  • 8. know your facts wrote:

    The Rebbe blessed South Africa, that it will be good until Moshiach comes, and will be better when Moshiach is here.

    Hashem is running the world, not the President.

  • 9. Moishe pipek wrote:

    Did the Rebbe tell them to be anti-semitic?.The Rebbe would never allow a brocho to be chal on a sonei israel.


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