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.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005



Menachot 43a states that Rav Yehudah attached tzitzit to the aprons of the women in his house.

Rambam Hilkhot Tsitsit 3:9 says that women and slaves who want to wrap themselves in tzitzit may do so without a brakhah. The same with other mitzvot from which we are exempt: if we want to perform them without a brakhah, one does not protest.

Fazonia, the first wife of Rabbi Haim ben Attar, wore talit and tefilin, as did Rabbi Haim's second wife. Hanna Rachel Werbermacher, the Maid of Ludomir, also did.

Some of the Rishonim, including Rashi and Rambam, said that women may choose to perform mitzvot from which we are exempt but we would do so without reciting a brakhah, since the brakhah's phrase "who has commanded us" would not apply. BUT, the largest group of sages of this period ruled that women may voluntarily perform mitzvot and recite the same brakhah as men. These sages include Rabbenu Tam (Rashi's grandson) and Rabbi Zerahia haLevi.

I can't help but wonder what influence Rabbeynu Tam's mother, Rashi's daughter, as well as Rashi himself, had on the blossoming Rabbi. I mean, if one grows up in a hosehold where a woman - your own mother & aunts - laying tefilin is normative, then how strict can your rulings be on these matters?


Blogger Uri Cohen said...

Hi Aviel. I just found your blog. Thanks for the interesting blogging!

I was wondering -- do you have a source that says Rashi's daughters put on tefillin? I once asked a big Judaica scholar, who said as far as he knew, there are no sources from their time that say that.


11:48 p.m.  
Blogger Soferet said...

Uri, shalom! Thanks for the compliment. A Tosefot on Talmud tractate Berakhot (?) is the source for Rashi's daughter(s) wearing tefilin.

4:39 p.m.  

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