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.

Monday, March 13, 2006

TZOM KAL

בס"ד
14 Adar - Erev Purim

An easy fast!

There's an old joke that goes like this: "What is the theme of every Jewish holiday? 'They tried to kill us, we won, now let's eat!'"
This weekend, one of R' Ross Singer's shiurim addressed the idea that we Jews rejoice in the death of those who oppress us - that we are in fact not allowed to do that.

PLEASE, by all means click on the links, because they contain the hebrew text & a *way* better English translation than I have here - & it's just a great site in general :)

Megillat Esther 9:1 - 2, 5

1: Now in the 12th month, which is the month of Adar, on the 13th day of the same, when the King's commandment & his decree drew near to be put in execution, in the day that the enemies of the Jews hoped to have rule over them; whereas it was turned to the contrary, that the Jews had rule over them that hated them.

2: The Jews gathered themselves together in their cities throughout all the provinces of the king Achashverosh, to lay hand on such as sought their hurt; & no man could withstand them; for fear of them was fallen upon all the peoples...

5: & the Jews smote all their enemies with the stroke of the sword, & with slaughter & destruction, & did what they would unto them that hated them.


Megillat Esther 9:17 - 19

17: On the 13th day of the month Adar, & on the 14th of the same they rested, & made it a day of feasting & gladness.

18: But the Jews that were in Shushan assembled together on the 13th day thereof & on the 14th thereof, & on the 15th day of the same they rested, & made it a day of feasting & gladness.

19: Therefore do the Jews of the villages, that dwell in the unwalled towns, make the 4th day of the month Adar a day of gladness & feasting, & a good day, & of sending portions to one another.


Megillat Esther 9:20 - 23

20: & Mordechai wrote these things, & sent letters unto all the Jews that were in all the provinces of the king Achashverosh, both nigh & far.

21: To enjoin them that hey should keep the 14th day of the month of Adar, & the 15th day of the same, yearly;

22: the days wherein the Jews had rest from their enemies, & the month which was turned unto them from sorrow to gladness, & from mourning into a good day; that they should make them days of feasting & gladness, & of sending portions to one another, & gifts for the poor.

23: & the Jews took upon them to do as they had begun, & as Mordechai had written unto them;


Sefer Devarim/Deuteronomy 16:10 - 14

10: & thou shalt keep the feast of weeks unto the LORD thy G@d after the measure of the freewill-offering of thy hand, which thou shalt give, according as the LORD thy G@d blesseth thee.

11: & thou shalt rejoice before the LORD thy G@d, thou, & thy son, & thy daughter, & they man-servant, & thy maid-servant, & the Levite that is within thy gates, & the stranger, & the fatherless, & the widow, that are in the midst of thee, in the place which the LORD thy G@d shall choose to cause His name to dwell there.

12: & thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt; & thou shalt observe & do these statues.

13: Thou shalt keep the feast of the Tabernacles seven days, after thou hast gathered in from thy threshing-floor & from thy winepress.

14: & thou shalt rejoice in thy feast, thou & thy son, & thy daughter, & thy man-servant, & thy maid-servant, & the Levite, & the stranger, & the fatherless, & the widow, that are within thy gates.


Megillat Esther 9:29 - 31

29: Then Esther the queen, the daughter of Abihail, & Mordechai the Jew, wrote down all the acts of power, to confirm this second letter of Purim.

30: & he sent letters unto all the Jews, to the hundred twenty & seven provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, with words of peace & truth;

31: to confirm these days of Purim in their appointed times, according as Mordechai the Jew & Esther the queen had enjoined them, & as they had ordained for themselves & for their seed, the matters of the fastings & their cry.


Also, what did the King & Haman do to celebrate their decision to annihilate all Jewry? They feasted! This was a pretty normal thing to throw a party & indulge. So when we feast, in order to thank G@d for the goodness S/He has provided for us, we are expected to express that gratitude, but not to go so far as to celebrate the death of anyone, even those who would have wished us dead. There is a midrash on when we crossed the Red Sea about how we sang once we were safely on the other side & the Egyptians were drowned. The angels also broke into song, but G@d stopped them saying," can't you see that my creations are being destroyed? The Egyptians did not oppress you, so you have no cause to celebrate, but they oppressed the Israelites for hundreds of years."
These passages clearly illustrate that the important thing is, don't sit down to a seudah (celebratory meal) until *everybody* can sit down to it. This is one of the mitzvahs of Purim.
In a patriarchy, who needs the most help? The people who are not connected to an adult male land-holder. The Levite has no land. The orphan & the widow have no way of supporting themselves. The stranger is outside of the framework of the society as well. Over & over G@d reminds us to take care of others less fortunate, to include them in our social network & loan them our resources. Give them access to everything we enjoy.




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