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, December 22, 2004

A LARGE ZAYIN (no snickering, please)


Joel & I spoke tonight for an hour & a half, which was terrific as we miss each other so much. One of the things we started talking about was this parsha & the Zayin which, according to some traditions, is written large in relation to the rest of the text. & the word the Zayin is in is the word "zonah" (whore). Fascinating. & the "zonah" here is Dinah.

I find it amazing that there is more than one large Zayin in TaNaKH. The other one I already knew about is in Malachi. But with this one, such a story about how Ya'akov is disconnected from his children by Leah. If Dinah had been born to Rachel (& there is a midrash about that), you can bet there would have been hell to pay. But instead, he makes a deal with the rapist & his father. & he is concerned that his reputation has been harmed after Dinah's brothers take revenge on the Shkhemites. The same brothers who see that this deal does not do justice to their little sister. They are the ones who want to be sure that Dinah is never thought of as a whore.

So the Zayin in "zonah" is written large - but why? Because "zayin" is vulgar-talk for "penis" & she was raped? Because she is *not* a zonah, as she was over powered? I'm going to do further research on this. But I'm sure it is part of the same disconnect between fathers & children in the Genesis narrative that begins with Terach & his son Avraham Avinu. Heck, even Noach & his son Ham.

The other large Zayin can be found in Parshat Shabat HaGadol/Malachi 3:22:
"Zik'ru torat Moshe avdi asher tziv'u'i'ti oto v'choreyv al-kol-yisra'eyl chuqim umishpatim:"

"Remember the teaching of Moshe My servant, which I commanded him in Choreyv for all Israel, including statutes and ordinances:"

Why is the Zayin of "Zik'ru" written very large here? The numerical value of Zayin is 7 and here G@D is reminding us to pay attention to Torah. This is to signify the prominent metaphysical spiritual power of the seventh day, Shabat (Tosefes Berachah, Exodus 31:17), and to show the brilliant effect it has on the weekdays. We always think of Shabat as being at the end of each week, but if you look closely at the head of the Zayin, it is looking both backward and forward, allowing us the anticipation of Shabat on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and letting us bask in the glow of Shabat on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday (Pesachim 106a).

Food for thought...


Blogger shanna said...

Hmmm...maybe I should stop trying to plan out my Shabbat menus on Tuesday then.

7:45 a.m.  
Blogger Soferet said...

Wow - you're *really* organised (eyes wide)

12:07 a.m.  
Blogger shanna said...

No, I'm not. Or, I sort of am, but not about everything. It's just that cooking is one of my favorite things to do, and entertaining (with food) is high up on the favorites list as well. I work all day on Friday, and this time of year there is barely enough tiime for me to walk through the shower between getting home and lighting candles. Julian can certainly do some last minute things for Shabbat, but he gets home only an hour earlier than I do on Fridays so there's not much for him to do besides putting our dinner into the oven and making sure the hot water urn is plugged in and warm.

That means all the cooking must be done by the time I go to sleep on Thursday night, or else early Friday morning before work. Since I normally wake up around 6:30 in the morning, and I get cranky when I don't sleep enough, I generally set my completion goal for 11 PM Thursday and am satisfied if I'm late by only an hour. Since that's only five (or six) hours of time Thursday, which also includes time to make and eat that night's dinner and occasionally must include the time-consuming tasks associated with baking challah, I definitely need to have all the necessary ingredients at home by the time I get home from work that day. To make my life generally easier, Julian usually does the "big shopping" (as opposed to the little things I pick up at Trader Joe's) on Wednesdays on his way home from work. In order to make that happen, I need to email him a shopping list before I leave work on Wednesdays. In order to make that happen, it's best if I can plan out most of the food on Tuesday and double-check the needed ingredients against what we have at home.

Of course, there's no excuse for my writing down (on Tuesday) which serving dishes and utensils I need for every food item.

6:49 a.m.  

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