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.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

TAHARAT HA-GUF, TAHARAT HA-KAVANAH

בס"ד


13 Elul

Yesterday I rested up & got ready for my Shabbes oneg talk. Joel lead qabalat Shabat services for around 50 Obies & the ru'ach (spirit) was truly beautiful. Dinner at the Kosher/Halal Co-op (yes - that would be Jews & Muslims eating together & sharing teachings on purpose) was fabulous. I told a Jewish martyrdom joke to our table & everyone laughed, including the Muslims, so that was happymaking.

My talk, which I gave in J-house, went over really well, barukh HaShem, kena hora. There were many questions about purity of body & purity of intention. I really enjoyed meeting all of them :)

I got a lot of sleep today, thank G@d. After the qidush lunch/Torah study, Joel & I walked around campus & he brought me to the library. Upstair stood the notorious "womb chairs", which I peacefully napped in forever. We took a walk along the old trolley tracks to R' Shimon & Amy's for shalosh seudos, which we shared with some colourful, interesting Yidden :D

After Havdalah, Amy asked to see some of my writing, so I showed her the megilah I'm working on. She brought out a Chinese silk scroll painting, as her husband (who is blind & collects Asian art) & we admired & talked about that.

We also had a good chat about how even in sofrut there are scoundrels, unfortunately, just like in every business. This was inspired by my encountering people who tell me of unethical sofrim so that I will expose them in this blog or on my web site. But if I don't see it with my own eyes, then I'm not alowed to repeat it or even imply to others to avoid doing business with these men. All I can say is, when you are looking for a sofer, act the way you act finding a doctor or some other person you must trust implicitly. Know what you want. Get recommendations from multiple people. Interview the person you are considering. This is a real caveat emptor situation, in every sense of the word...

We also talked at length about avoda zara ("strange work", a.k.a ido worship) & how mysticism can be a doorway into avoda zara. Amy is one of the most engaging people I have ever met in my life. She recommended that I read Amusimg Oursleves to Death by Neil Postman - a look at avodah zara as ego indulgence. She also suggested I read the R' Yeshayahu Leibovitz book about giving away the West Bank after we won it in '67 because it would become part of our national avoda zara. Ouch. I'll look for it, but I must admit that it will be a difficult read.

In some ways, our current time is growing to resemble the Orwellian view of the future, like in the case of the US's "Patriot Act", but more than that, the First World is becoming Huxley's Brave New World distopia, I am very sorry to say...

I did read "Perceptions of Jewish History" by Amos Funkenstein. The title alone was enough to attract me & my nerdly ways, but when I saw the author's last name, I just couldn't say no.
Within this volume I found on page 92 a lovely quote from Ibn Ezra:

"And now let me pronounce a principle. Know that Moses our master did not give the laws to the philosophers [chakhme halev] only but to everybody. And not only to the people of his generation but for all generations."


Which illustrates the responsibility of each Jew, regardless of background or place in history, to be an exegete.

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