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.

Monday, November 22, 2004

BS"D

TALMUD BAVLI, MASECHET DEREKH ERETZ RABAH

Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar was coming from his teacher's house in Migdal Eder. He was riding leisurely on his horse when a certain man met him on the way, who was exceedingly ugly. R' Shimon said to him, "Raka (simpleton), how ugly are the children of Abraham our father." The man replied, "What can I do? Speak to the Craftsman Who made me." R' Shimon immediately dismounted from his horse and bowed before the man and said, "I apologize to you, forgive me." He replied to him, "Not until you go to the Craftsman Who made me and say, "How ugly is the vessel which You have made." 
R' Shimon walked behind him for three miles. When the people in town heard of the arrival of R' Shimon, they came out to meet him and greeted him with the words, "Shalom aleicheym, Peace be unto you, rabbi." The other man said to them, "Who are you calling rabbi?" They answered, "The man who is walking behind you." He then exclaimed, "If this man is a rabbi, may there not be any more like him in Israel!" He told the people the whole story, and they begged him to forgive the rabbi, and he agreed, only on the condition that he never act in this manner again.

The story of R' Shimon Ben Elazar & the ugly man teaches us that it is better to be like a reed than a cedar. If you are like a reed, you can stay connected in your place but be blown around, rather than uprooted & smashed like an inflexible cedar. This exercise can gently improve your midot. By "allowing" the Holy One to process out your flaws, & letting other people correct you when you make mistakes, you become more fully your true Self.

This is why Sephardic & Mizrachi sofrim make their kulmusim, their pens for writing Sifrei Torah & other ST"M, out of reeds & not out of stiff wood. Sometimes you are at your strongest, & you stand more firmly in your own truth, when you are willing to bend just a little.

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