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.

Monday, November 14, 2005

KOOKY MITZVAH

בס"ד

12 Cheshvan

The Babylonian Talmud, tractate Kiddushin 31a, discusses which is a bigger mitzvah? The mitzvah performed by a person obligated to do so, or the mitzvah performed by a person voluntarily?
The conclusion is that a person who is obligated (let's say an adult Jewish male) must overcome his ego in order to perform the mitzvah, where a person who is not obligated (anybody else) does not have ego as a barrier to their performance. Therefore, there is "more reward" in the next world for those who perform commandments they are obligated to.

This, of course, ignores the intrinsic value of any other valid motivation for the performance of mitzvot. Problematic?

This subject is of great interest to me, as part of the argument against women writing Sifrei Torah, or for those woman-written Sifrei Torah to be considered kosher, is the question of a Jewish woman's obligation.

Rav Kook wrote a pamphlet he called "Shevet Yisra'el", in which he argues that doing a mitzvah without being commanded is in fact, of a higher level.

Must find this pamphlet!

7 Comments:

Blogger BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

Very interesting.

I have a post today about the Torah and its interpretation, and would most welcome a common by a woman versed in such matters. Thank you.

11:57 AM  
Blogger The Jewropean said...

Idon't think this is a valid argument against female sofrus at all. After all, no matter the reward, a mitzva is a mitzva, and a mitzva that possibly has a lower reward doesn't become an aveira through that.

7:19 PM  
Blogger Evenewra said...

I also don't get the following.

If person A gets a bigger reward than person B, why do when then say person B needn't even bother?

What's up with the whole reward thing? Isn't permissibility enough?

2:05 PM  
Anonymous Tzipporah said...

What interests me here is that the sages focused on obstacles to performing the mitzvah, where greater obstacle = greater reward in the next world.

Might not the dismissal of women's holy work by traditionally observant Jews deal a similar "ego-blow" to the female sofrut? Her humbling is not to submit to the obligation, but to the scorn of others. Would this not render her reward great, if she chooses to overcome that humbling effect and continue in what she feels to be her holy path?

I admit, I'm coming from a place where the exemption of women from the obligation to perform mitzvot for any reason other than physical impossibility is suspect, at best, and heretical, in general. Not a mainstream view. :)

9:47 AM  
Anonymous Tzipporah said...

oops- I meant female soferet above, not female sofrut! (Gives me an interesting mental picture, thought...)

9:53 AM  
Anonymous judi said...

Perhaps it's even greater if one does the mitzvah without the slightest inkling of thought as to whether it's a lesser or greater mitzvah based on the conditions under which it was done. As the Nike ad says, "Just do it."

4:58 AM  
Blogger Maggid Sarah said...

Are all men obligated to write seforim? Explain to me how the halachos work as far as the obligation to write is concerned. Most of the traditionally observant jewish men I know do not engage inthe practice of sofrut. I never did understand this question of obligation and sofrut-- can you expalin it yo me? I get this question from men as regards women and tzitzit-- but then unlike sofrut, most trad. men do fulfill the mitzvah of tzitzit.

2:20 PM  

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