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.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

TALMUD BAVLI SHABBAT 104a

BS"D


The Sages said to R’ Joshua ben Levi: Today some young children came to the house of study and told us things [about the Hebrew alphabet, which they had just learned] the likes of which had not been said even in the days of Joshua son of Nun:
Alef bet means “Learn wisdom (alef binah).”
Gimel dalet means “Be kind to the poor (gemol dallim).” Why is the foot of the gimel stretched toward the base of the dalet? Because it is the way of the benevolent to run after the poor (to help them out).
And why is the foot of the dalet stretched toward the gimel? Because the poor must make himself available to the benevolent.
And why is the face of the dalet aveted from the gimel? Because help must be given in secrecy, so that the poor will not be humiliated by the presence of the giver.
Hey and vav are two letters that form (part of) the (Ineffable) Name of the Holy One...
Zayin, het, tet, yud, kaf, lammed: If you act thus (as commanded), the Holy One will sustain (zan) you, be gracious (han) to you, show goodness (metiv) to you, give you a heritage (yerushah), and bind a crown (keter) about your head in the world-to-come (le’olam ha’ba).
The open mem and the closed (final) mem signify that one utterance (in Scripture) may be open and another may be closed (esoteric) [and inquiry into it may be forbidden].
The bent nun and the upright (final) nun mean that those who are faithful (ne’eman) when bent with suffering (in this world) will be made upright (in the world-to-come).
Samekh and ayin stand for “Uphold the poor (semokh aniyyim).” (Others say: The two letters stand for “Devise {aseh} mnemonics {simmanim} in Scripture and thus commit it to memory.”)
The bent peh and the (final) open peh signify that there are times when the mouth (peh) should be open and times when it should stay closed.
The bent tzaddi and the erect (final) tzaddi signify that while in this world the righteous (tzaddik/tzodeket) is bent down, in the world-to-come s/he will be enabled to stand erect.
Kuf signifies “holy (kadosh).” Reysh signifies “wicked (rasha).”
Why is the face of the kuf averted from the reysh? Because The Holy One says, “I cannot bear looking at the wicked.”
And why is the upper tip on the crown over the kuf turned toward the reysh? Because the Holy One says: If the wicked (rasha) repents, I will bind a crown over his/her head like the crown over the kuf.
Shin stands for “falsehood (sheqer),” and tav for “truth (emet)”. Why do the letters of sheqer in the alphabet closely follow one another, while the letters in emet are far apart [the alef at the beginning, the mem in the middle and the tav at the end]? Because falsehoods follow close upon one another, while truth is encountered only at intervals far apart.
And why does sheqer stand on one leg [the long stroke of kuf, the second letter of sheqer, extends below the line, so the word looks as if it is standing on one leg], while emet is made up of letters which have (solid) bricklike bases [both the alef and the tav rest on two legs, while the mem has a horizontal bar at its base]? Because truth stands firmly; falsehood does not [B. Shab 104a].

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