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.

Friday, May 13, 2005



The air conditioning is on today, B"H.

Thank G@d, I'm learning so much by retracing the letters of the sofer who wrote this Sefer Torah! By filling in where his old otiyot have broken or worn away, my hand learns his strokes & angles. There is a poetic, delicate nature to his curves & shapes, his negative space. His Gevurah & Chesed. Like the way he so beautifully placed the head of the Lamed in "kol" between the feet of Peh & Quf in "paqad" (Bemidbar/Numbers 3:39). I like to "look through" it & capture new visions.

Although all his letters are recognisable, I know that my sofer wouldn't accept some of them. He taught me to be very machmir (strict) in how I form my letters, so that they look just like the examples of Ashkenazi script in the Qeset HaSofer (the laws of scrolls for Ashkenazim which was codified by Rav Shlomo Gansfried of Hungary). These letters are K'tav Beit Yosef, but have some K'tav Ari aesthetics evident. My sofer would only accept a script which was of a single type, not mixed styles. Also, this sofer's taggin are very tall. I think they're pretty, like palm fronds waving in the breeze. But my sofer would say that the middle tag is not always higher that the two on either side, that they complicate the layout with descending strokes from the line above because of their height & worst of all, the Yuds could be mistaken for small Lameds with such high strokes, so they would all be pasul.

Now don't get me wrong, I am in no way criticizing this sofer's work. Judging by his spacing & other writing skills, he was more experienced when he wrote this Sefer than I am currently. I'm just making observations about something I am so curious about & love so much.

& I am so far away from my mentor (sigh)...

Janine, one of our fabulous hosts, said that later in the week there would be a lot more going on at the synagogue, what with Shabbes coming & all, & that there would probably be quite a few people sneaking into the sanctuary so they can take a peek at my work. So far only 2 people have come & they were so afraid to disturb me that they stayed for about a nano-second before excusing themselves. It's not that I mind either way, I mean sure, I enjoy a quiet workspace, but c'mon - sofrut is SO COOL! You'd think the Yidden would be lining up to learn about it!

Something else happened today that really surprised me: Janine told me that I was "so humble." I smiled, but said nothing as I was a bit stunned, to tell you the truth. My first thought was, "well, she's obviously never read my blog!"
I am still wondering what it is she sees in me that inspired her to say that. I have never considerd myself humble & have often recognised, during my adult life, that this is a middah (character trait) which I needed - still need - to improve.

May The Holy One guide me to true humility...


Blogger Alisha said...

I, too, have recognized that trait in you, even through your writing, so you must be doing something right. But I suppose too many people telling you that isn't exactly helpful to the effort... ;-)

So I'll just add (again), titchazki!

7:53 p.m.  
Blogger Soferet said...

(blushing) Rather - thank you :}
This brings to mind Rebbe Nachman:

"O You who are infinitely Deep
yet also
profoundly Simple,
help me walk the simple path.
Free me
of any façade of sophistication,
which will only hinder
my endless quest
to come closer to You.
Help me live my life
with faith,
with sincerity
& with perfect simplicity."

Liqutey Moharan 2:19

4:53 p.m.  

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