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, July 11, 2005

MELITZ YOSHER #1

בס"ד


Noach ben Lamakh

B'reyshit, 8:5-22; 9: 20-21...Parshat No'ach

I don't think Noach intercedes until pasuq 20 when he builds the altar & makes the sacrifice. Before that he is just making observations about the environment through the raven the dove.

What worked?
Olah = that which ascends. We must ascend to G@d to intercede.
R' Chaim Potok in JPS's Eytz chayim: Torah & Commentary, (bold is mine) "Noah's Sacrifice & G@d's Resopnse (vv. 20 - 22)
Noah builds an altar & brings burnt offerings on his own initiative. Now that the earth has been purged of its evil, sacrifice symbolizes the restoration of harmony between G@d & humankind.
20. burnt offerings. The Hebrew word for olah means, literally, "that which ascends". It refers to sacrifices that, except for the hide, must be consumed entirely by fire on the altar. No part of them may be eaten by the worshipper, whereas both priest & worshipper partake of the sacrifices known as z'vachim (see Deut 12:27)

Shoresh of Ayin-Lamed-Hey = to go up; rise; lift; flourish; excel; cost; move away; elevated; sublime; exalted; extolled; ascent (updated July 12)

Shoresh of Zayin-Vet-Chet =

1. How does Noach know that there is a problem?
G@d told him he was going to destroy all flesh because it had corrupted itself.

2. What is his reaction?
Noach obeyed G@d's command to build the Teyvah (Tav-Vet-Hey)

3. If he decides to intercede, is he doing anything to prepare himself?
The Torah does not say.

4. How does he go about interceding?
Noach voluntarily builds a mizbeyach & offers an olah from each group of tahor animal & bird.

5. What does he say?
The Torah doesn't say.

6. What does he do?
See #4 above.

7. When does he stop?
When G@d responds in the positive.

8. What is the outcome of his intercession?
G@d promises to never wipe out virtually all life again using nature as a tool, provided that we accept His re-ordering of the new society ie when He gives permission to eat meat but puts a blood prohibition on it, & officially prohibits murder. For posterity he puts a rainbow in the sky to seal the covenant.

9. What can you learn from these stories about the qualities an intercessor needs?
- Obedience to & acceptance of G@d. To be (comparatively) righteous/blameless. I say comparatively because Noach was only "righteous in his generation", so perhaps he was the best of what was left on earth, but not ideal - the only thing G@d had to work with, so he did His best with what he had. You will note that he did not intercede on the Earth's behalf when G@d told him He would destroy everything. He waited until after the horror had been executed on all beings except those who had inhabited is teyvah to ask G@d to never do that again & thank Him for making an exception for them. He may have cloistered himself & his family from the Earth's lawlessness, but he simply withdrew from the world & did not try to change it. Therefore, G@d had to intervene. We can learn from this that we have a responsibility to be activists ie we cannot stand by the blood of our brother...G@d wants us to participate in struggling with our own tendencies & to bring about Tiqun Olam *with* Him...this is why I agree with Rebbe Yochanan's interpretation rather than Reish Lakish's (Talmud Bavli Sanhedrin 108a). HAD Noach been better than average, he could have fought to corruption, but because he was a beynoni he could only cloister himself & remain in his integrity that way.
- "Walking with G@d" (Gen 5:24; Gen 6:9)
- To shape the agency of your own salvation (ie build your own ark rather than wait for G@d to save you through Divine intervention)
- Does one need to be older/married/a parent to truly intercede?

10. What of these qualities can you find in yourself?
Voluntary offering/negotiating. Occasional submission...

STATEMENT: What more can we expect from the world's first intercessor? If nobody has yet acted as one, then Noach has only his own instincts to follow & no example...

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