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.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

BOY MEETS GIRL

בס"ד
19 Adar


I had what I think is a chiddush (new idea) over Shabbat: the reason why Asherah sticks & trees were considered avodah zarah ("strange work" or idol worship) & why they needed to be destroyed is not because they represented a different small-d deity competing with G@d, but because this was meant to be representative of the feminine aspect of G@d separated out & the whole purpose of Creation & for Tiqun Olam is to re-unite the masculine & feminine aspects of G@d.

We weren't allowed to plant trees in the Beit Ha-Miqdash (Temple) courtyard because they represented Asherah. Not that all female energy is considered "bad" in Judaism, but because to put the feminine there - outside - would imply that only the masculine was in the Qodesh Qodashim (Holy of Holies), that only the male aspect was behind the curtain - inside. But the Kruvim (statues atop the lid of the Ark) themselves show us that there was both male & female in the most sacred physical space that G@d occupies, & that they embraced.

So it's not that appreciating of the feminine is wrong or that femaleness is lesser or that recognizing that G@d is half female is idol worship - indeed, the undermining of the Feminine is a chilul Ha-Shem (diminishment of G@d's Presence in the world) & to claim that G@d is exclusively masculine is also. It's that any human separation of G@d's unification is harmful to not only that person's soul, but to all of Creation. Either gender acknowledged in a vacuum is a misrepresentation of Divinity. The direction of the Universal flow is toward total yechidut - unification.

But the way things have been translated & interpreted through the generations, well, this is how it comes across. It's damaged all the Abrahamic faiths. Time to heal that & thereby move a little closer to a planet of shalom.

"Ve-ne'emar ve-hayah Ad@nai le-melekh al kol ha-aretz, be-yom ha-hu yihiyeh Ad@nai echad u-shemo echad."
"& it is said my Lord will be King over all the world, & on that day my Lord will be One & his name One."
- Zechariah 14:9

note: JewishEncyclopedia.com has NO entry for Shekhinah! Boo!




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4 Comments:

Blogger blackherring said...

That's kind of cute, but how do you reconcile it with the fact that only males were allowed into the more special bits of the temple? and only males were allowed to do the actual communicating-with-God business? Surely by setting up a system in which gender distinction is inherent, one is inevitably going to have a fractured society, one which can't experience unity?

5:10 AM  
Blogger Emily said...

I thought it was very insightful. And there are differences between the sexes, that can't be avoided. I believe that the secret lies not in who gets to go where, or do what, but in cherishing and respecting the sacred roles of both male and female with humility. Aviel's own experience testifies to that; some people thought she shouldn't be doing what she was, although it was not really forbidden, just not practiced among recent tradition. If we could learn to live not by attacking feminine and masculine roles, but by examining the roots of them, as Aviel has in this post, a lot of problems would not exist.

8:00 AM  
Blogger Maggid Sarah said...

I enjoyed the insight on Ashera sticks. Thanks!

11:28 PM  
Blogger miriam said...

As for feminine imagery in the kodash kodashim, see yoma 54a (seems you are interested in a lot of the issues here, so perhaps you've written about it before - i just read this one post so far...):

תלמוד בבלי מסכת יומא דף נד עמוד א

רב יהודה רמי כתיב +מלכים א' ח+ ויראו ראשי הבדים וכתיב +מלכים א' ח+ ולא יראו החוצה הא כיצד נראין ואין נראין תניא נמי הכי ויראו ראשי הבדים יכול לא יהו זזין ממקומן תלמוד לומר ויארכו הבדים יכול יהו מקרעין בפרוכת ויוצאין תלמוד לומר ולא יראו החוצה הא כיצד דוחקין ובולטין ויוצאין בפרוכת ונראין כשני דדי אשה שנאמר +שיר השירים א+ צרור המר דודי לי בין שדי ילין אמר רב קטינא בשעה שהיו ישראל עולין לרגל מגללין להם את הפרוכת ומראין להם את הכרובים שהיו מעורים זה בזה ואומרים להן ראו חבתכם לפני המקום כחבת זכר ונקבה מתיב רב חסדא +במדבר ד+ ולא יבאו לראות כבלע את הקדש ואמר רב יהודה אמר רב בשעת הכנסת כלים לנרתק שלהם אמר רב נחמן משל לכלה כל זמן שהיא בבית אביה צנועה מבעלה כיון שבאתה לבית חמיה אינה צנועה מבעלה מתיב רב חנא בר רב קטינא מעשה בכהן אחד שהיה מתעסק וכו' אמר ליה נתגרשה קא אמרת נתגרשה חזרו לחיבתה הראשונ

not only are the keruvim male and female, but the poles of the aron protrude thought hte paroket "like thetwo breasts of a woman." sounds like some sort of feminine presence in the kodash kodashim. of course, the pasuk cited (bein shadday yalin) probably implies that the feminine imagery here is that Israel is a woman and god is her male lover (or potential lover), which is not exactly what you're getting at, but still interesting...

11:56 AM  

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