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.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004



Here's some stuff I haven't written about yet, courtesy one of my rabbis studying with me:)
The Shaarey Tshuvah says that women are permitted to write STaM (not tfilin) & Megillot because you can't tell if a woman wrote a Sefer just by looking at it. Just like you can *see* the shirtut on a Sefer, but you can't tell if the shirtut was, in fact, made with ibud lishma as it's supposed to be. So if a Sefer *looks* kosher, then it *is* kosher - that's the only way you can tell if it's kosher - by *looking* at it & if it checks out physically, it's fine.

Benefit of the doubt...


Blogger Alisha said...

Hmmm...interesting. That sounds like the type of reasoning, though, that usually would be used only b'di'eved. Meaning that if you don't know whether something was done lishma and with the proper kavana, (for example) it's kosher if it looks kosher, because there's no other way to tell. But I really doubt any rabbi would say l'chatchila that it's OK to write a sefer Torah without the right kavana, just because the final result will look the same as a sefer that's written properly! Why can that reasoning work for the question of a woman writing it?

Don't get my intentions wrong, here -- I'm just playing devil's advocate (if you'll pardon the expression) in an attempt to force the best and most honest answer. I would hope there's every halachic justification for a soferet's work, but this one seems like a false positive to me.

1:40 a.m.  
Blogger Soferet said...

You know, Alisha, you're exactly right. It's a logical line of reasoning, what you've posted above, & it never occurred to me!Actually, my sofer said the same thing when he saw this. What he wrote was:

"this doesn't impress me. first of all, using that reasoning we can throw away all the halachot of k'sidran, chok tochut, written by non-jew, etc. etc. second of all, we are interested in the writing being kosher l'chatchila. we are not trying to pull wool over peoples eyes and decieve them just because they can't tell by looking at it. who is the sha'arei tshuva. i need to see this myself."

So thank you for pointing out this glaring problem with it.
What are you doing up so late? :)
kol tuv,

1:49 a.m.  
Blogger shanna said...

Nothing to contribute to the halachic argument on either side, but a couple of private points to you two:

Aviel - 1:30 is not late for Alisha. Not even close.

Lish - Give me my devil's advocate job back or I'm telling David!

*ahem* Sorry for the interruption.

6:25 a.m.  
Blogger Alisha said...

Aviel -- I'd be interested to hear what your sofer has to say upon further examination of the source.

Shanna -- do you know I actually thought of you while using the phrase...but I didn't think you'd be quite so defensive about it. Besides, what makes you any more qualified for the position? Batya ironed that one out for us a long time ago!

Aviel -- in case you're feeling very confused right about now, I guess it's only fair to fill you in. After all, this IS your blog! ;-)
Anyhow, David is a friend of ours who likes to adopt the persona of "the devil." But he's really a very nice and gentle person. Really. And Batya said once, in a "quotable quote" moment, that one does not need to go to law school to be a devil's advocate. The rest I'm sure you can figure out.

Both of you -- what you don't seem to realize is that the comment posted at 1:40am PACIFIC time (that's what Vancouver's on, isn't it?) Think about it. :-p

10:33 a.m.  
Blogger Soferet said...

Oh, I'm sorry! I thought you were in Boston like Shanna!
Sorry (blonde) :}

11:20 a.m.  
Blogger shanna said...

Well, she's not in Boston, but last time I checked she was still in this (Eastern) time zone. 1:40 AM in her own time zone is not very late for Alisha, but 4:40 AM is. Silly girl.

12:41 p.m.  

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