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.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

BS"D

WE'RE MUSLIMS?!?

I'm learning about prayer with R' Ross in the Shulchan Arukh & I'm still not putting it into practice. I'm gathering strength, tho'. When my Muslim friend Kyla (yes, the one I bought the peace plate for in Jerusalem) talks about stumbling out of bed at 3 or whatever & bumbling through her prayer, I know how she feels...but I don't like being in that state when I daven, so depending on how disoriented I feel when I wake up, I don't daven right away. But then I wonder if I should just do it anyway, partly because it is, in fact, my own ideal, partly because I think it actually may be law somewhere, but also because there's something egoless about being on autopilot. So maybe being half asleep would make me apprpriately egoless & therefore hunble in connecting with G@d...but then maybe my kavanah will be low. But then my kavanah can certainly be low when I'm fully awake as well - *that's* an ego issue

Joel thinks kavannah is really *the* central issue in prayer. We can, and should, be aiming to connect with the Divine at all times and in all activities. & I agree with him. The Mishneh Brurah talks about keeping G@d before you at all times. It was fascinating!

Basically it said that we rush around & make preparations when we have the priviledge to meet a human king, so we should do at least the same for G@d, who is omnipresent & not a mere glorified human. That's why so many thoughts & so much advice around rising in the morning have been put to paper in Jewish tradition.

It even went on to talk about the Sh'viti'im people make & how we're not allowed to write G@d's 4-letter name on a piece of qlaf & keep it in our sidurim. People used to do this so they could increase their kavanah, & it sounds like a good idea, until the Mishneh Brurah went on to say that even tho' this is a nice idea, that these Sh'viti'im would fall out of people's sidurim & be destroyed in the street, thereby erasing G@d's name. So that's why in many shuls now there's a big Sh'viti in the shape of a menorah up at the bimah or the aron. That was the M"B's suggestion.

It occurred to me that since both qlaf & d'yo are made with the kavanah that they be used in sofrut & sanctified by a verbal declaration of said intention, that perhaps this is another reason to avoid such sacred "arts & crafts", as they're inappropriate to the material's potential.

So what the Mishneh Brurah suggested is that instead of using a physical device we maintain a constant state of meditation in which we "see" the Y-H-V-H before our eyes at all times. Because when people think they're alone, they behave very differently than when they are aware of the Presence.

So R' Ross interpreted this as a pair of glasses with Y-H-V-H printed on the lenses :) & you'll love this: when we learned that we should "wake the dawn like a lion", ie, get up when it's still dark & with great vigour daven shachrit as the sun rises - I said, "But we're not *Muslims*!"

& R' Ross said, "Well, yes - we *are*!"

I'm going to miss him!

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