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.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

TRUTH IS BEAUTY

בס"ד
2 Sh'vat


"Be careful not to confuse beauty with perfection"
- Rabbi Dr Louis Sutker, commenting on my anguish over the imperfect letters I had just written as he cooked dinner tonight for his wife Charlotte & me.
He made an excellent point. He reminded me that the whole point of writing the word of G@d is to read it & learn from it. That it didn't have to be physically faultless to be employed & enjoyed. We could take a lesson from that in so many facets of our lives. As I considered the broad application of his words, thoughts ran through my head such as "forest, not trees!" & "soul, not body!" so as to not get caught up in the details, as I am want to do, to the point of losing sight of the Big Picture sometimes.

What a relief that G@d is in charge of both...

As I pondered all this, I fiddled with my wedding band, now worn on my right index finger where Joel originally placed it under our candle-lit chupah, as I have lost 30 pounds & it no longer stays on my left ring finger.
There are so many things we would have to courage to do if we weren't so afraid of being imperfect. But that is exactly what we are - perfectly imperfect. & there is truth & beauty in that holy creation.

We can each tell our own tale of the wholeness of a broken heart.

5 Comments:

Blogger Poor Mad Peter said...

Of the two, I can't help but think that G*d prefers beauty as a rule--we are ill-equipped creatures when it comes to creating perfection.

3:54 AM  
Blogger Regina Clare Jane said...

The beauty equals perfection thing is so huge here in the States- and it's a daunting ideal to overcome. However, if G-d created us in His image, and He is perfect (and beautiful) are we not then perfect (and beautiful) in some way as well? Our souls perhaps...
Thoughtful post, Aviel...

11:42 AM  
Blogger Poor Mad Peter said...

I trust not, but my reaons my be difficult to fathom. Here goes (analogy warning): I once accompanied a group of prospectors who were checking out a gold claim. Gold tends to be found in quartz, often very pretty quartz, the ekind you'd buy crushed for your garden.

The prospectors have no use for it: they refer to it as "bull quartz", and at best it is nothing more than a nuisance to be got through to get at the gold.

And where is the gold? In the veins of impurities in the quartz. In other words, in the dirt. Put metaphorically, the value lies not in the obvious "perfection" (quartz) but in the dirt, the impurities, so to speak.

Our impurities tend to stem from our experiences, and there, I would say, is the potential for beauty, for growth, for the Presence of G*d.

So, I'd never say we were perfect, and thank G*d for that, but beautiful? Quite possibly!

1:42 PM  
Blogger Soferet said...

בס"ד
YES.
"Sheqer ha-cheyn ve-hevel ha-yofi..."
The last 22 lines of Mishley/Proverbs is known as "Ayshet Chayil", "A Woman of Valour" (or, as I like to think of it, a woman full of chai - life) & is traditionally sung by a Jewish husband to his wife to express his appreciation for her each Friday night as a part of the home Shabbat rituals preceeding the meal.
The above loosely translates as "Grace is deceptive & (physical) beauty illusory..."
& Midrash Ha-Gadol identifies this passage with Queen Vashti, from the Megillat/Book of Esther.

Further to your gemstone comment, Peter, since I used to be a gemologist, you might find it of interest to know that sometimes when a particular kind of flaw in a stone is very unusual, it can actually raise the price.
For example, emeralds are notorious for their inclusions (internal flaws) because they can be so pervasive in such a brittle stone that they make it very challenging to cut & set them.
A first-stage inclusion, like a smal crack, is nothing special.
However, a second-stage inclusion like a crack filled with liquid, might be of interest to a collector, especially if there is a small gas bubble inside.
So you can imagine how much money an aficionado might pay for a third-stage inclusion, like a crack full of liquid with a gas bubble & another, different coloured crystal within.
!

12:24 AM  
Blogger Poor Mad Peter said...

Thanks, Aviel. I remembered, in your comments, that certain precious and semi-precious stones are valued because of their "flaws"; sometimes, these are colourations, sometimes structural flaws as you mentionned.

One of my favourites is obsidian, a volcanic glass that, without intruded streaks of colour, is nothing but dark gray glass. Then there is my birthstone, bloodstone, named for the iron oxides mixed in with other minerals, giving it those "blood" red bits.

Not to obsess on rocks/minerals, etc, I reiterate that it is the people who recognize and accept their imperfections (some even transcend them and they become true gold in the process)and simply do the best they can even so. G*d is lurking in and around them.

The "perfect" ones, I don't know what to do with.

5:33 AM  

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