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.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

BS"D

THE SCRIBE


On the Sabbath the tortures of Gehenna (Hell) cease for a day, & the spirits that are punished there & the demons that punish them are set free to roam the world until the Sabbath ends. But not all return to the place of punishment on time; some lag behind until dawn & seek ways to cause turmoil in the world once the sanctity of the Sabbath has been lifted.

In one town there was a scribe who was writing a Torah. This Torah was to be used the first time in a newly built synagogue. The scribe lived in fear of not completing the Torah in time for Simhat Torah, when the Torah reading begins anew with the first verses of Genesis. So it was that as soon as the Sabbath had ended & the havdalah prayers had been said, even though the rabbi had warned him to refrain from working, this scribe hurried to his desk. He was in such a hurry, in fact, that he failed to recite Psalm 91, which protects against the dangers of demons.

The scribe worked like a demon himself until midnight, but then his eyes grew bleary, & he knew that he must stop, for if he made a mistake he would have to write the Torah all over again. & as he reluctantly went to sleep, the scribe wished that someone would help him complete his work, so that the Torah would be ready on time.

Now every wish is overheard, either by an angel or a demon. & in this case it was a demon on its way back to Gehenna who overheard the scribe's wish & decided to fulfill it at once.

This demon tried to enter by slipping beneath the front door, but because the text of the mezuzah, which the scribe had written himself, was flawless, it could not. Then the demon circled the house, searching for an open window, & at last it found one that was open just a crack. But that was enough for the demon, who quickly slipped inside & hastened to the scribe's desk, where the incomplete Torah lay open.

The demon picked up the scribe's pen, dipped it in the ink, & began to write. It copied the text at a great speed, for the demon knew it by heart, because demons are as familiar with the Laws as are the angels. & before very long the demon had filled up that page of the parchment & had started on the next. Soon that page was filled as well, & the demon, lost in the task, continued to write long into the night, until a great many folios of the parchment had been written, & only one page still remained.

The demon hunted for more parchment, but not a scrap was to be found. & the demon, in a frenzy to complete the task before being forced to return to Gehenna at dawn, hastened to the bed of the scribe & began to strip the skin off the man's back, despite his howls of pain, then continued to scribble away on it until the task was done.


Germany; Fifteenth Century
An excerpt from "Lilith's Cave: Jewish Tales of the Supernatural" as selected & retold by Howard Schwartz

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