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.

Friday, December 02, 2005

STRANGLEHOLD

בס"ד

Rosh Chodesh Kislev

R' Naftali Citron was on the Daily Show tonight. I remember his generous presence gliding through the women's section of the Carlebach shul one Shabbat last summer, smoothly halting for each of us to touch & kiss his Torah.
That piece was followed up with a performance by the White Stripes. I love Jon Stewart.

You can define art for yourself but you cannot define sofrut for yourself, as the boundaries of that world are both broader & narrower than the "you". You cannot fit it to your existing shape in the Bourroughs-esque style so popular now, but must morph your "you" into its Palace of Torah.

The Sanctuary of Sofrut has already been built for us, with great care & attention by our wise elders; the only part of its frame which requires renovation, from where I stand & stare, is that Judaism must be transformed into a meritocracy.

6 Comments:

Blogger Adam Daniel Mezei said...

Aviel, I was wondering if you enjoy the writings of Tova Reich, oh my, you've got that stylistic similarity and lyrical 'sweetness' (adjectival descriptor not loaded, p.s.) that she seems to exude. Also, there's a delectable tongue-in-cheekness about her Kedushat Hashem that I so admire. Have you?

The terms I really dug from yer post: Palace of Torah -- Hazak u'Baruch! -- I love it, I love how you've redirection the usage of the noun, how you've been able to redefine so-called 'non-judaizing' words into acts of holiness and kedushah. Palace is not our word, but it is thereby sanctified...

I'll be looking into your blog more regularly...

I feel less alone now...thank you.

5:45 AM  
Anonymous jen said...

I think a Jewish meritocracy would run a terribly grave risk of defining "of greatest merit" as "most machmir" - rather like we have now, in fact. A definition of merit excluding any reference to observance at all wouldn't be plausible, and once you put observance in there, it'd turn into an I'm-frummer-than-you competition. To judge merit without observance, you'd have to assume a roughly similar level of observance, or at least commitment, for everyone, and that isn't the case. How do you see it?

9:47 AM  
Anonymous Tzipporah said...

As Wikipedia and Jen both point out, "the perennial problem in advocating meritocracy is defining exactly what one means by merit."

But obviously, the overarching problem for sofrut is in who gets to "write" that definition...until wise tzadikkot have a share in the power system to which you wish to submit, you are setting yourself up to be judged by people who speak from a position of inheirited (male) privelege, and proposing to let them assess your "merit." That doesn't sound entirely like you, Soferet.

10:42 AM  
Blogger ADM said...

T, then if what you say is true, then we must begin to analyze and dissect who is presently within the Tzadikot Community -- for if it's a truism, then the entire fulcrum on which rests the concept of the Fabled 36 is also false, seeing as this was rabbinically-ordained, and also by an unruly Yeshiva-ed crowd of argumentative men.

Yes?

2:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just writing in caps to make sure this is seen - i'm not yelling. :o)

IT WOULD BE REALLY INSANE TO HAVE JUDAISM RUN ON A MERITOCRACY. WHO (EXCEPT FOR THE GOOD LORD) CAN POSSIBLY JUDGE THE MERIT OF PEOPLE?

3:23 PM  
Blogger Tzipporah said...

borscht, I'm not sure I understand what you're saying at all. People in priveleged positions, (like groups of unruly, yeshiva-ed men) have created lots of wise insights and rulings over the years - but that doesn't mean that they have the sole right to power or to judging others. In fact, as our anonymous capitalizer points out, only One has that ultimate authority (although a bet din is the traditional stand in).

When I referred to tzadikot (with the small tz), I meant those wise, gentle, and holy women who dwell in each of our communities, and whose merit is as far outside the discourse of the current orthodox power structure as is their recognition.

Can you clarify, what is the "it" to which you are referring?

"...for if it's a truism, then the entire fulcrum on which rests the concept..."

12:30 PM  

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