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.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

THIS PAST WEEK

BS"D


Tues Nov 30
Negotiating for a teaching stint at a Hebrew High School program. I'm looking forward to working with teens & showing them the wonders of the Alefbet. Pierre Berton died & I wept. The first book of his I ever read was "The Secret World of Og", when I was 10 years old. One of our national giants, whose face & voice I grew up seeing on TV & hearing on CBC. What is going to happen to Canadian Identity when we've lost all our greats? Rick Mercer seems to be the only Canuck picking up the banner, willing to march on...

Wed Dec 1
Phone call negotiating with an all-woman Canadian film company who wants to make a movie of my life story. Hopefully my life isn't over yet, tho'...I still feel half baked :)
I'm concerned that a dramatisation could put my reputation at risk, with no way to restore it. If G@d wants me to have a lot of money, He'll find a way to give it to me without my selling out. I remember that all through the contract talks. That I know I am willing to walk away & that this gives me the freedom to behave appropriately. Like guarding my personal life & monitoring the way my family, my friends, my community, my Jews are all portrayed. Once they make a movie of you, everyone thinks it's the G@d's honest truth, even if it's a dramatization & they say that it's *based* on a true story. I have confidence that the folks at the film production company are all good people, tho', so we'll see.
I found myself pulled in many directions by other peoples' needs today & didn't even get any food in me before 3pm. Everything today was harder than it needed to be or should have been. Very frustrating. Thank G@d.

THU dec 2
A word about miqveh. The attendant made small talk while checking my back for stray hairs or anything that may interfere with the water's ability to completely enveolp me. "So you must be a real miqveh expert, what with your job...", she said to me under the bright lights. I'm very intrigued by her. She's very young, married, wears a sheytl, American (she says "Gahd" for G@d) & each of the 3 times I have encountered her she has asked pointed questions about "my work". I like her & feel cautious around her at the same time.
Insomnia won again tonight, so I was up learning Torah & researching & blogging until after 4am. Then I found the ping-0-matic site
I can die happy now. laylah tov zzzzz...

fri dec 3 & Sat dec 4
I woke exhausted & with hardly any time to prep for Shabbes. I did manage to make the cream of Jerusalem artichoke soup that Joel loves so much. He made a huge salad & we went to shul for Qabalat Shabat. It's Jodi's last one before she takes off to Israel for 6 weeks, so we had a so-long shabbes dinner at her place.
It was a good time, lots of singing & great food :)
I was up twice in the night, once around 3am & then again at 8, but I'd hardly slept so I was furious that the light had woken me. I returned to bed at 9 & then re-awakened at 12:15. So I'd missed our R' Schachar & Me'ira's first baby naming & was very discouraged. but I showed up for the qidush & everyone was very concerned. Just the same old insomnia, I told them.
Free pizza & beer after shabbes at Shaarey Tefilah Saturday night for "the No Dinner Dinner" fundraiser. Many smiles. It's so nice to hang out with my friends from shul when it's not Shabat. We can play music & talk about work & do all sorts of things! ;+>
Joel played through his set after we came home & I caught up on the endless work. Thank G@d there's always more to do...

Sun dec 5
It's all fuzzy. Just more writing.

Mon dec 6
The letters are slowly taking on a life of their own. here & there I see signs of awakening consciousness in the tiny black forms I repeat for hours each day. My spacing is still not perfect. But it *is* perfecting, barukh HaShem. I look forward to the day when my letters dance the way my sofer's letter's do. I mean, they'll have their own rhythm, but they will *move*...

While I was writing tonight I received a call from sofer fixing Torah at Shaarey Tefilah. So, you may ask, why didn't they ask me to do it? That's an excellent question. First off, not our entire synagogue holds by the same hashgafa as I do, which means that although the Halakhah which I use to give a foundation to my work is valid, not everybody makes the same choices. I fully support this, as I believe all of us need to give each other room in our Jewish practice. So since these Sifrei Torah which needed repair are to again be used for public reading, if not everyone in the shul would accept a woman-repaired Torah, then those people would be excluded from Torah services if one of these were used. Therefore we can't have me fix them. Also, both the passul ones actually were on loan from one of our elder members, so it was really up to him to have them repaired & to choose who to do the job. Anyway, as long as they're done in a timely & skilfull way, I have no more to say about it :)
So the sofer asked me if I had any double-edged razor blades he could use to make one of the repairs. I apologised & said no - that I had very fine sandpaper & an electric eraser, but that I had worn the gold plating off my razor blades so had none left to loan him. My sofer taught me that no base metal (such as steel, because it is reminiscent of war) can come in contact with the qlaf, so once & wear the gold or silver off my tools, they need replacing. I hadn't received any new ones yet, In fact, I'm considering plating some blades & needles myself, except for the problem of getting & handling arsenic...
Anyway, I offered him the tools that I *did* have, but he really needed a razor blade, so I apologised for not being of any help & wished him good luck.
Up til 4am again, lack of daylight at this time of year is really not healthy & I feel discouraged as I know this is leftover terror from Jerusalem & stress brought on by work-related issues.
I forgot to turn the heat down when I went to bed hours earlier & noticed that the qlaf had curled around the edge of my desk like it's desperately trying to grab a ledge...like it's going to fall...
It's reminiscent of the first Megilat Esther qlaf I worked with. Each time we cooked dinner, the moisture in the apartment would cause it to roll up...like it was alive. Well it was...once.

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