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.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


29 Adar I was gazing out the window of Beans this morning sipping my warm brew & listening to yet another unidentifiable female voice yearning for "the other" - & what struck me is that so often, "the other" we yearn for is ourselves.

It's sensual & it's hungry.

& this got me thinking again about Shekhinah. This day of full solar eclipse. Impending Rosh Chodesh Nisan.

We first see Her around 220 c.e. in the Mishnah, where Her name is interchangeable with Y-H-V-H & El@him to identify G@d.

Several hundred years later, the Kabbalah has gendered & sexualized Her in a way to make Her G@d's wife/lover or daughter. A "female" whose identity exists because of her attachment to a "male". But aren't we talking about G@d here? Isn't G@d indivisible? Expansive?

A false hierarchy had been built into the spiritual to reflect social norms of the physical, thus limiting our concept & connexion to Shekhinah.

Now don't get me wrong, I appreciate the psycho-sexual imagery in many Kabbalistic texts as that is a real part of every adult's life & it's a valid way of expressing Divinity in our experience. Cleanliness isn't next to G@dliness, Eros is. But femaleness - & Shekhinah - is consistently resigned to the passive, reflective, helpless stereotype that is part of what women are still fighting today.

In a word, this is victimhood.

Can somebody please tell me what is so passive about pregnancy or giving birth?

B'reyshit/Genesis 1:2 tells us that, "'ach El@him merachefet al-p'nei ha-mayim." "...& the spirit/breath/wind (f) of G@d (the plural S/He) hovered (f) over the face of the waters." The verb & the noun are both female in this pasuq/verse & the Name of G@d here used is androgynous, like the first human was. Male & female He created them (verse 27). In the same pereq/chapter G@d appears as female, male & both.

Now, by jotting down these ideas, I am not attempting to negate the softness, the receptivity, or the compassion we find in femaleness. Far from it. I just don't like to see our nature & by extention that of the feminine face of G@d relegated to a role, given ultimate boundaries. Especially when we do not choose those boundaries.

I don't believe that either the feminine or the masculine archetypes are meant to stand wholly independent of each other; however they need not be defined by the other. We can honour uniqueness without depreciating any part of Creation's whole. G@d's unity.

If we stop stereotyping G@d as exclusively male, we will undermine sexism.

The Kabbalists' idea is that the Universe was created by G@d contracting G@dself to make room for us, like a pregnant body; they call it tzimtzum, concentration or condensation. A compassionate act (womb = rechem; compassion = rachamim) which means we are entirely made up of G@d, being supported & surrounded.

G@d is the Eym Ha-m'rachemet, Compassionate Mother. How is this not female?

Our tradition teaches us that each created being is a limb of the Shekhinah. Well, each of these beings also has at least one X chromosone.

We need some serious integration here, sisters!

Let's help bring Mosiach-consciousness by empowering the feminine without diminishing the masculine. Build a bridge between Eyn Sof - the Infinite or "nothing that is everything" - & Eyn Sof Or, the Infinite Light or "nothing that is something".

G@d is One.

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Anonymous evgenya said...

Beautiful! Many thanks!

11:40 a.m.  
Anonymous margaret said...

passionate philosophy + creative linguistics = always a great reason to return to your blog!!

also, i've been trying to reach you through email -- is it down again? should i post my course questions? would that be easier? let me know...

4:55 p.m.  
Blogger Regina Clare Jane said...

I love this quote, Aviel-"Cleanliness isn't next to G@dliness, Eros is."
You have such a mystical and profound way of writing that I never fail to leave your blog with a lot of questions running around my brain. The problem is, I don't know what the answers are! I need to do a lot more studying!

6:33 p.m.  
Blogger Soferet said...

I'm glad you all received this piece so well. I've been cautious about blogging my Divine Gender struggle. Some people are afraid of Creation's psychedelic lover babushkah mother acid witch soul-vibe. But in Zohar 86a, R' Isaac said the commandment, "You will have no gods before Me", does not include the Shekhinah.

Margaret - I'll e-mail you soon! Thanks for your patience!

9:58 p.m.  
Blogger Carly said...

Read this on my handheld on the way home and really just wanted to say,

"Rock on my sister!"

11:31 a.m.  
Blogger Soferet said...

I can't wait to meet you, Carly!

9:28 p.m.  

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