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.

Sunday, November 21, 2004



Wowee, this weekend has been intense. This week was so full that Joel & I (yes, we *did* get married, on Yud Elul barukh haShem, but I haven't written past mid-August at this point, except my periodic current events updates, so I will get to that :) bentsched licht & davened at home, ate dinner, bentsched & went straight to sleep. We were exhausted. Shabbes morning, parshat Vayetze, Joel noticed a large Peh Sofit in the Sefer Torah he was gabbay-ing from, but I saw none in my chumash behind the mechitza.

In the evening we went to the opening of Pini's Cholov Yisrael pizza place, on our street. Practically the entire frum community turned out - I'm so grateful to live in a place where there's enough Jews to support many shuls, rabbis, classes, a few restaurants, mohels, sofrim ( I think there's 1 or 2 aside from me now - men), & yet, it's a small enough group of Jews that we can't ignore each other: we run into each other, cross each others' paths, live in each others' back pockets, & ultimately support each others' endeavours. Vancouver has beautiful Jews!

I have noticed that since I have married & began covering my hair, more women in the frum community smile at me, greet me, perhaps take me more seriously, strike up conversations with me, are friendlier - so are their husbands, the rabbis. I suppose it doesn't hurt that I married a man who wears his tzitzits out & sports a beard, either. It's just now they know better where to place me in the spectrum of Jewish religious traditional observance & behaviour. I can't blame them for being confused by me before - a woman convinced her raison d'être was to write a Sefer Torah - anytime one breaks new ground, there may seem to be no boundaries, or perhaps no ideas where the new boundaries should lie. I know that eventually, people who care to interact with me will see that I want to perform this holy Work confined to all the same rules as male sofrim are. There is time.

I couldn't sleep last night, still leftover tension from the pigu'ot in Jerusalem & my poverty, but I rose early anyway & made my way to Richmond to give a demonstration to the Hebrew Sunday School at a Conservative synagogue there. The kids were awesome :) I showed them & their parents a Sefer that I was in the midst of correcting, so they could see the difference between the kosher parts & the pasul parts; showed them my tools & fixed a word in Ha'azinu in front of them. They all asked excellent questions & were just excited enough about all this that they were loud, but not so much that they missed even a minute detail of the Torah I was giving over. The rabbi periodically jumped in with things he wanted to draw their attention to, or relate to something else in their curriculum. I always appreciate when I'm teaching kids that someone more familiar with them direct the learning a bit. It's very important for the demo to go in the way most benefits the children, & I am not always the best judge of that. I really enjoyed hearing & watching the rabbi in action with the b'nai mitzvah class. He really is quite wonderful with them.

When I came home we made nachos & watched the Grey Cup. We were quite sad that the BC Lions lost to the Argos, but it was still a good game :)

After dinner I sat down & began to write a mezuzah. The writing is less than half the size of what I am accustomed to write in the Sefer Torah, yet must be executed with the same extreme care, with one exception: a mezuzah *must* be written in order, so if I make an error, that's it. It's finished. I am not allowed to correct, so I must begin writing another. So far, no mistakes, thank G@d, & may that continue. It's 22 lines long, so about the same length as half an amud (column) of Torah. I am being excrutiatingly careful with my spacing as well. & honestly, writing the Sh'ma was very intense, because I had to write 3 G@d-names in a row, verbally sanctifying each one. Thank G@d this process is difficult as it is gorgeous.
Shavu'ah tov!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mazel Tov, the two of you should be zoche to build a binyan aday ad.

2:29 a.m.  
Blogger Poor Mad Peter said...

Mazel tov, ditto.

4:02 a.m.  
Blogger Soferet said...

Todah rabah & a sheynem dank! Thank you to you both!

2:11 p.m.  

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