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.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

BS"D

S-O-S!

I've had an extrememly eventful week. A week of endings & beginnings, a week of frusteration & joy, of learning & processing.

In preparation for writing the Sefer Torah, I began going through my Tiqun Shm'ot, the book that lays out exactly the way Sefer Sh'mot (the Book of Exodus) must be written. There are times when names of G@d are used to refer to idols or judges, etc, which represents a problem: When to meqadeysh (verbally sanctify) these names & when not to? ALL of G@d's names which appear in the Sefer - there are 10 - must be meqadeyshed. The Qeset HaSofer (Inkwell of the Sofer - the Sofer's rules book) states among its many rules that to err here & sanctify a name which refers to idols is equivalent to "urinating on the Holy of Holies". Oy.

A Tiqun relieves this fear of error by labelling each name "qodesh", holy, or "chol", regular. Now here's the problem:
As I was thumbing through parshat Sh'mot, circling all the qodesh names & putting squares around all the chol names, I came upon a name that was labelled "safeyq" - doubt.
Doubt? How can there be a doubt?
I read the sentence, Exodus 7:16, & it seemed quite clear that G@d was referring to G@d's-self. So why wasn't it qodesh? I e-mailed my Sofer for advice.

I continued my work. Reading pashat Va-era, methodically moving over the letters, it became a meditation for me. I noticed just how many times G@d declares, "Ani Ad@nai!" - "I am The Lord!". Were we not paying attention? Did we treat The Holy One inappropriately? G@d was so tangible, so present with us on our march through the desert, how could we forget that G@d was G@d?

Then again - a safeyq. Again G@d is talking about G@d's-self.
I e-mailed my Sofer again - "EMERGENCY!" in the subject line.

Still further. I see the word "Eloqey" in parshat Bo. It has neither "qodesh" nor "chol" written above it. Why not? Now I'm getting nervous. This Tiqun is a strict standard published in B'nai B'raq (a town so holy, they have no police force, because everyone is too afraid of G@d). If there's no indication, how do I know what to do? I read the pasuq (sentence). It was referring to "eloqey Mitzraim" - the gods of Egypt. So obviously the name is chol. But it isn't labelled, so if a Sofer does not notice, is not sufficiently conscious of the meaning of the full sentence, he could easily make a mistake. A mistake like that is very serious - it passuls (treyfs/makes unkosher) that whole yeri'ah (sheet) of qlaf (parchment). & it must be buried.
I'm waiting to hear back from my Sofer.
I wonder how many passul Sifrei Torah are out there right now...

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