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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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, February 21, 2005

B'REYSHIT

blackberry_sheet.jpg

"Black Berry Sheet"© copyright A. Barclay

BS"D


B'REYSHIT- "In the beginning" or "With beginning-ness"...
The OT Rishon, first letter of BREYSHIT is Bet - House, a vessel defined by a floor, a roof and a wall with an open side. This is similar to our universe which provides us with a floor, a roof, and a wall allowing for verticality and an open future. That which is next in time is open; is ours to fill. Bet is the first of the seven double letters, those letters that can be pronounced both hard and soft. As seven they each represent a day of the week and reflect the duality of our daily experience.
Bet corresponds with the first day; Sunday. The quality of chachmah (wisdom) or its transposition íavlat (folly).
Its numerical value is 2 - representing the first emergence of two, the Creator and the Created. Bet only appears to tell you that there is a relationship before you. One plus one is just one & one, but TWO means each one is bound to the other by a relationship. this is what Bet teaches us. A home, a Bayit, is a place where relationships form & grow & experience & strengthen & dwell together. The prefix "b'---" in Hebrew always tells us that there is something in or with another, two things which have a connexion. It begins the Torah because before Creation existed only the undifferentiated Oneness of G@D, but with that first utterance of The Holy One "speaking" Creation into existence, from then there existed something differentiated from G@d & yet still a part of G@d, in relationship. Its Sefira Correspondence is Chesed, Loving Kindness. This is also why a ketubah, a Jewish marriage contract establishing a home, a bayit, for a new twoness-becoming-oneness, begins with a large Bet.
Bet carries the divine creative mother-father energy within it, beginning the whole universe.

Drash
The first letter of the Torah, Bet, is written larger than the rest! Why was the world created with the letter Bet [the first letter in B'reyshit, “In the beginning” or “With beginning-ness”: Genesis 1:1]? Just as Bet is closed on three sides and open only in front, so you are not permitted to investigate what is above (the heavens) and what is below (the deep), what is before (the six days of creation) and what is (to happen) after (the world’s existence) - you are permitted only from the time the world was created and thereafter (the world we live in) [Genesis Rabbah 1:10. This may refer either to space or to time, or to both space and time. See Tosafot on Talmud Bavli Hag 11b, s.v. yakhol].

Reish Lakish taught that The Holy One made a deal with the rest of Creation, that if Israel accepts the Torah, you will continue to exist; if not, I will return you to nothingness (Shabbos 88a). How do we know this? Because the first word in the Torah is an acronym: "Barishonah Ra'ah Elohim Shey'qab'lu Yisra'el Torah" - "From the start, G@D saw that Israel would accept the Torah" (Baal HaTurim).

We read in the first line of the Sh'ma: "V'ahavta eyt Adonai Elohekha b'khol l'vavkha..." - "You shall love HaShem, your G@D, with all your heart" (Deuteronomy 6:5). Why is there a double Vet in the word "l'vavkha"? Rashi tells us this is to show us that we are to use both our inclinations, both drives, both "hearts" to do so. How? If we indulge our bodies sufficiently to feel content, allow ourselves adequate rest and gratification that our minds operate well, we can strike a balance in our lives, thus directing both our pleasures and our pieties toward G@D.

Kavanah
Great care must be taken with the shape and the length of the Bet. If it appears more round than square, then it could be mistaken for a Khaf. If it is narrower than it is tall it may look like a Nun.

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