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.

Sunday, November 13, 2005



11 Cheshvan

After morning prayers in synagogue this morning, we gathered together for our mid-morning study session. One of the threads of conversation that grew out of our learning was on tefilin.

In our discussion, I likened the tefilin shel rosh, the tefilin (or tefillin) worn on the head, to a spelunker's headlamp. It's purpose is to illuminate one's way along life's journey.

In English, we use a Greek word to refer to tefilin. The word is phylacteries. the same word as prophylactic, meaning "protection".

The tefilin shel rosh has 4 compartments each containing a verse from the Torah, while the tefilin shel yad, or arm-tefilin, contains only one. Why?

Because the human mind is divisive. One can think oneself into multiple opposing ideas, plural realities. This serves to confuse & confound us. It can be paralyzing. & the mind tends to cycle faster with fear, with self-preservation. G@d says, "lo tir'ah" - fear not! The fearful mind separates us from our hearts, from G@d. The more you get caught up in your rationalizations, the farther you are from your heart, the seat of G@d within you.

The human heart, the house of the soul which The Hoy One gifted us each with, only requires the tefilin shel yad resting near it to contain a singular verse of Torah, because the heart knows its singular purpose & function.

Thus, when a Jew wraps the stap around the middle finger of the arm bearing the tefilin shel yad, the final step in wrapping oneself in them, the following words are recited:

"Ve-eyrastikh li le-olam, ve-eyrastikh libe-tzedeq u-v'mishpatu-v'chesedu-v'rachamim. Ve-eyrastikh li be-emunah,ve-yada'at et Ha-Shem."

"I will betroth you to Me forever, & I will betroth you to Me with righteousness, justice, kindness & mercy. I will betroth you to Me with fidelity, & you shall know G@d."

The same words a Jewish groom says to his bride under their chuppah.
Ameyn ve-ameyn selah.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You wrote-
"The tefilin shel rosh has 4 compartments each containing a verse from the Torah, while the tefilin shel yad, or arm-tefilin, contains only one. Why?"

This is incorrect. Both the shel rosh and shel yad contain the exact same verses - the only difference is that the shel yad is written on one piece of klaf.

10:22 a.m.  
Blogger Soferet said...

Yes, I do realise that. Perhaps I wasn't clear in my original post.

10:30 a.m.  
Anonymous Rachel said...

Oooooh, this is so cool! I also like the interpretation that the tefillin shel rosh is there to shape our thoughts, and the shel yad to shape our actions in the world -- they work together, in that way, to enfold the totality of who we are.

Maybe because of the verse from Hosea, I think of my tefillin as analagous to a wedding ring. Like my wedding ring, my tefillin are a physical manifestation of an emotional and spiritual connection. When I take off my ring to wash dishes, I'm still married to my beloved; but when I put the ring back on, I always feel a surge of gladness to have the reminder there before me. Just so, tefillin. :-)

12:57 p.m.  

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