Netivat Sofrut: diary of a Soferet

Adventures of a female sofer learning to heal the world by doing Holy Work...writing a Sefer Torah

נחזיר את השכינה למקומה בצייון ובתבל כלה

"Let us restore the Divine In-Dwelling to Her Place in Zion & infuse Her spirit throughout the whole inhabited world."

So wherever we are, let us bring the Peace of G@d's Presence.

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Location: Vancouver/London, British Columbia/UK, Canada

SCRIBAL EVANGELIST As the only living certified Soferet (סופרת - female Jewish ritual scribe) & the first woman to practice sofrut (creation of sacred Hebrew texts) in over 200 years, I feel an obligation to blog about my experiences of The Work. I am also currently researching the foundation of a lost tradtion of women practicing this holy craft. For more on the services I provide, please see Soferet.com; Sofrut Nation. I am now available to engage with students, male or female, wishing to enter into the preliminary stage of learning sofrut. You are welcome to join me on this path. "Tzedeq, tzedeq tir'dof - Justice, justice you shall pursue." Devarim/Deuteronomy 16:20.

Monday, September 08, 2003

VISCERA OF A SEFER

B"H


Sunday, August 24th

"Modah ani lefanekha..."
I am *so* lucky.
Barukh HaShem.
I got on with my day: laundry, the office place "Express", food, connected with my sofer & then my Israeli girlfriend Galit, sofrut homework...
I want to say something about my adventures so far in sofrut: wow. It is both just as I imagined, this final learning stage, & at the same time a surprise. I think both are good :)
For one thing, the quill cutting isn't as complicated as I thought it would be. I mean, I've read about it & seen pictures of the process & ordered a few professionally made ones in the past to *really* see how they're done properly. But never even attempted to carve one myself, even tho' I love carving (wood, metal). The quills are turkey - the ones I bought in Me'ah She'arim - & goose - the ones that Fred Nudel brought me from the shochet (ritual butcher) in Montréal - & they have different characteristics. The goose are much thinner that the turkey - less than half as thick - so carving them is a more delicate matter, particularly in awling out all the smelly interior chamber-like material of the shaft after they've soaked. The exacto-blade (the inconvenient Israeli version I bought here, anyway) is serving me very well, but I definitely need to find some razor blades.
The ink is really something, the way it behaves on the klaf. With regular drawing ink & a metal nib on paper, I can just drag the pigment to wherever I want it in one stroke & it's there. & it stays. This Nahari d'yo has to be gently coaxed along. It must be enticed to spread itself over the klaf & then convinced to remain there. This requires much more drawing out & many more strokes. Once in position, it stays put on top of the klaf, drying expectantly.
The klaf I'm currently doing my homework on - it's velvety prepared surface is more of a battle for sharp letter edges than the other Torah klaf I've worked on before. Beautiful to look at & feel, but quite a challenge to write on. It's ok - I'll get the hang of it (G@d willing).
I went out to Café Hillel with Galit & had a qafeh barad - which was very excellent indeed.
We later met our friend Inbal at the Kotel. Both Inbal & Galit had lived & taught in Vancouver last year, so they had a grocery bag full of notes their elementary students had written to be placed in the cracks of the Wall. What a gevalt! It was so sweet to see these two placing hundreds of children's requests for G@d between the stones.

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