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; 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, November 17, 2004



I have been diligently - & not so diligently - attempting to catch up on my blog update. Here it is November & I'm still writing about August, & being the anal-retentive person that I am, it causes me much chagrin to actually consider WRITING OUT OF ORDER, but today has been very special, so I must share now rather than whenever I get to it.

This morning I was learning after davenen with our new Rabbi, Schachar Ornstein, in the Shulchan Arukh Yoreh De'ah Reysh-Peh"Alef Hilkhot Sefer Torah. Now, this pasuq - Gimel - is the one famous for being used to prohibit women from writing Sifrei Torah. It reads, "A Sefer Torah which has been written by a Masur (a Jew who has turned away from Judaism to atheism), an Eved (slave), an Ishah (woman), a Qatan (boy under the age of 13 or girl under the age of 12), a Kuti (someone who is of doubltful Jewish status, like a Karaite or Samaritan), or a Yisra'el Momar (a Jew who has converted to another religion) - pasulin (these Sifrei Torah are disqualified from/unfit for use in public kria). Very simple & straight forward, no?

NO! If you just look at the *footnote* made by the Be'er Heytav, he speaks in the name of the Drisha (an Acharon, or later commentator), who spoke in the name of the Tur, the Ro"sh & the Ri"f (all Rishonim, or early commentators). He writes that the above pasuq which I just translated, these aforementioned great Rabbis understood to mean the prohibition extended to Tefilin (phylacteries). So if a woman made Tefilin, they could not be used for public prayer by a Jewish man. However, They considered a Sefer Torah written by a woman to be kosher.

R' Schachar & I were very excited to have stumbled upon this in shul today. We'd heard of it's existence, but neither of us had ever found it.

It's funny how some of our earliest leaders allowed women to write Sifrei Torah, accept aliyot, etc & some later leaders prohibited women from SO much public participation.

I'm interested in how that process unfolded & why...


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