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.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

BS"D

JALALUDIN RUMI

"paradise is surrounded by what we dislike;
the fires of hell are surrounded by what we desire."
- from Mathnawi II, 1837

This has been a recurrent theme throughout my life. & not just mine. It's the human experience.
I recently sat in my garden with a Wise Woman friend, enjoying the mellow late afternoon summer sun & admiring how well my Jerusalem artichokes are growing. Joel & I *love* Jerusalem artichokes. As we chatted, she asked me if I had ever returned to fencing. I replied whistfully that I hadn't, but that I wanted to make time for it.
I had let it go after an unfortunate car accident 2 years ago had left me with serious full-body whiplash, but B"H nothing worse. I'd been stopped at an intersection, signalling to turn, when an uninsured drived rear-ended me at full speed. Just another nudge from G@d to remind me that I was not on my right derekh (path). I have noticed each time I have wandered from my destiny, even if I just stop reaching to it for a second, G@d smashes me with a car.
The first time was that morning in 1991 when my right hand was crushed by a car in a bike accident. The same hand which is now "bionic". The same hand which is now disabled. The same hand with which I write a Sefer Torah.
I used to compete in fencing. I left competition as I committed my life to mitzvot, which meant fencing tournaments on Shabbat with their electrical equipment had to be left behind. It saddened me, but I could still spar with other swordspeople. I fenced at UBC & at Mount Pleasant until the accident. But 2 years on, after all this physiotherapy, chiropractice care, pilates & massage, I feel ready.
SO, why fencing? Why the art of the foil? Why any kind of weaponry? Well, because of the Rumi quote above. My entire life I have found it necessary to be self sufficient, as only G@d can be trusted fully. To fight for what I knew I could attain, as the way has often been blocked. To defend myself, if necessary. But the sword is just a red herring. A means to an end. It's the sleight of hand meant to distract from the real purpose: that which is behind the eyes of us all - our will.
My whole life I engaged in swordplay, excelled at archery, scored high in hand gun target practice. & now what do I do? I write.
Instead of waving a big metal pointy thing around to execute my will, I wave around a feather to transcribe the word of G@d.
We learn that base metals like iron must never come into contact with the qlaf (parchment) or the d'yo (ink) used to make a Sefer Torah, because these metals are symbolic of violence & war. This is why Ashkenazim write with a quill & Mizrachim use a reed. This is why we scrape our errors away with a shard of glass, score our lines with a rose thorn, & sew the sheets together with gold-plated needles.
Perhaps instead of defending my heart from the outside world with a sword, I should turn inward & correct the errors to be found therein with a broken mirror.
Perhaps engaging in this process would truly prepare me to copy G@d's utterance.
B"H

2 Comments:

Blogger Poor Mad Peter said...

>We learn that base metals like iron must never come into contact with the qlaf >(parchment) or the d'yo (ink) used to make a Sefer Torah, because these metals >are symbolic of violence & war. This is why Ashkenazim write with a quill & >Mizrachim use a reed. This is why we scrape our errors away with a shard of >glass, score our lines with a rose thorn, & sew the sheets together with >gold-plated needles.

Can we not redeem these materials in G*d's work and name?

5:12 AM  
Blogger kyla said...

This story you put down has me entranced. Because of G^d's active and frightening signs to put you on your path. Because of God's healing of His own work on you. Because of your full cooperation with it.

But more because of the foil, the sleight of hand that you spoke of, the defensive art - and how it slides inexorably from an interactive human struggle, a reciprocal struggle that has an immediate end; to a long, slow interaction, still a struggle perhaps, but one that begins with submission. You submit to G^d's word to write it and then you struggle with it and you're struggle isn't a fight anymore, and it's no sleight of hand. In fact, the complete opposite - it's facing the Divine Name in fear and awe and absolute love, which is submission entire. I'm in awe.

3:21 PM  

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