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, July 07, 2004

BS"D

AN ORDINARY HUMAN WITH JEWISH LEADERSHIP THRUST UPON HER

I received an e-mail some time ago, the content of which surprised me so much it took me a while to respond & even longer to record the experience here. A woman wrote in her message to me that she saw me as equal to Moshe Rabbeynu. I thought about her statement & shared it with some friends (one of them laughed so hard she snorted) & my rabbi before I replied, as my response to her would naturally be powerfully personally charged. I thanked her very much for her kind & flattering words & encouraged her to keep on with the work she was doing. It was a very pleasant exchange. So why did I not protest her likening me to the greatest of all G@d's prophets?
I have learned, as my fame (or infamy - depends on your point of view) has slowly grown that people have come to me, whether electronically or in person, with their own ideas & perceptions of me which have little to do with my reality. This is common - for example, I may feel that the lyrics of "Changes" reflect my own life & experience so closely that David Bowie must "know" me on some deep level. Or that I "know" him. When really, he's just reflected a common human experience that resonates with many people - which is why it was such a massive hit & teens today know all the words even though it was written well before they were born.
I'm not likening myself to either Moses or Bowie (comments to follow!) but when one does something with one's life that others can identify with or others consider to be their province - copying out their most holy text, for example - people are touched, no two ways about it. Thrilled or furious, people express their sense of propriety, as well they should. In my case, I've both been threatened with physical harm & likened to the most humble man on the planet, who had a closer more intimate relationship with G@d than any other human ever in history.
When people have praised me to the point of embarrassment, I have gently protested with a smile on my face. But they often just say, "No! That's what I see in you so I'm allowed to say that!"
When you're just *present* with people, allow them their voice, they feel respected & empowered. I don't see any danger in this as I'm determined to not let these words go to my head.
I'm not here to argue with people or to tell them their vision is false, they're mistaken. & I'm not here to upset people by rejecting their praise, even when it makes me uncomfortable. They take it very personally. I think it's important that we accept what people bring to us, regardless of whether it positive or negative, because people who are in fact *not* friends or family - people who don't know us - can project whatever it is they feel or see & for them, it's valid. For them, it's their truth. So my work around this has been to learn how to graciously accept both praise & criticism & to tell the difference between what actually applies to the REAL me & what does not.
Because some people offer really important guidance in their crit & others very helpful support in their praise. & I require both of these things because I'm still just an ordinary human. Not a prophet. Every day & try not to make aveyras & to run to do mitzvot, & although I often succeed, I still fail G@d every day that I'm alive. & I hate that. But G@d has given me this gift of life for I don't know how long, so every day I'll keep praying, blessing, writing, loving everyone who comes to me as much as I can.

May HaMaqom bless me with the strength to act appropriately in The Presence & with everyone who encounters me.
Ameyn v' ameyn selah.

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