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.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

ROLE MODEL

בס"ד
6 Iyyar


So I was watching America's Next Top Model tonight. Why? Because, in the immortal words of Kahana, "This, too, is Torah & I must learn it." I was struck by the advice two girls were given by their Thai judge: "When you're a top model, you have to remember that there are repercussions for everything you do each day. You have to be really confident & present."
...what a Jewish attitude, I thought! You could insert a lot of different words into this statement, in place of "top model".

It reminded me of the Monday morning chevruta I have with Rabbis Orenstein & Mivasair. This week we learned mamar Alef of Sefer B'nai Yisachar (I've blogged about it previously here), which relates the month of Iyyar to the tefilin of Rabbeynu Tam. Hang onto your hats, here comes some century-plus old Kabbalah...

The One who is to be praised will be praised with consciousness, intellect, knowledge.

Rav Dinov writes that the 4-letter name of G@d, when written as Yud-Hey-Hey-Vav (יהה"ו) the way it sometimes is, it stands for Yirmiyahu Tet, Khaf-Gimel/Jeremiah 9:23...
כג  כִּי אִם-בְּזֹאת יִתְהַלֵּל הַמִּתְהַלֵּל, הַשְׂכֵּל וְיָדֹעַ אוֹתִי--כִּי אֲנִי יְהוָה, עֹשֶׂה חֶסֶד מִשְׁפָּט וּצְדָקָה בָּאָרֶץ:  כִּי-בְאֵלֶּה חָפַצְתִּי, נְאֻם-יְהוָה.  {ס}

"But let him that glories glory in this, that he understands, and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises mercy, justice, and righteousness, in the earth; for in these things I delight, says G@d."

"...yit'haleyl ha-mit'haleyl haskeyl ve-yado'a..."
The tefilin of Rashi, Rabbeynu Tam's saba (grandfather), corresponds to the normal way we are used to seeing G@d's 4-letter name:
(Yud-Hey-Vav-Hey)

These tefilin, of Rabbeynu Tam, are especially good for hasakat chokhmah, the Father-Wisdom.
Because these tefilin correspond to that tzeruf (combination) of this name, Iyyar they're good for acquiring this consciousness.

The aspect of our lives it is connected to is hirhur (reflection - which is the word of Briyah). It was at this point we ran to the Talmud to read about the maklokhet (dispute) on hirhurim & speech in Brakhot 20b (Hirhur Lav K'dibbur, "thinking is not like speaking"). Then I went on a tangent about how this discussion affects some essentials of sofrut, which I'll write a future post about :)

It's a process:
Haskeyl, yediyah, hirhur, refu'ah.
Understanding, information, reflection, healing.

Iyyar is the month of cleaning, clearing out, with the "perfect food" of Man(na), Lechem Abirim/the Bread of Angels (according to R' Akiva)/Lechem Dasvuta - bread absorbed by the organs, which was only nutritious & had no physical or spiritual dreck (toxin).

It takes the month of Ziv, Brilliance, another name for Iyyar, to cure us of our spiritual PTSD!

In Alef:Dalet we learned that Torah was given only to those who ate the Man(na) in the desert - according to R' Akiva - ie: those who accepted the Bread of Angels were open to Torah, as they had properly prepared themselves for it.

"Iyyar" (spelled Alef-Yud-Yud-Reysh in Hebrew) stands for Avraham, Yitzchaq Ya'aqov & Rachel. They are the 4 legs of the merkavah (Divine chariot), so this month is a preparation for Torah by virture of your middot (character traits). Therefore the deeds of the ancestors preceeded Torah - they lived in harmony with Ha-Shem naturally, beforehand. So it is our custom to learn Pirkei Avot during this time of year.

Qadmeynu, our ancestors, were exemplars without explicit instruction - we need instruction (Torah) to achieve this.

The gematria of Iyyar is ARA"Kh, which has the meaning of refu'ah (healing).
In Yirmiyahu 30:17 "arukha" indicates "refu'ah".

יז  כִּי אַעֲלֶה אֲרֻכָה לָךְ וּמִמַּכּוֹתַיִךְ אֶרְפָּאֵךְ, נְאֻם-יְהוָה:  כִּי נִדָּחָה, קָרְאוּ לָךְ--צִיּוֹן הִיא, דֹּרֵשׁ אֵין לָהּ.  {ס}

For I will restore health to you, & I will heal you of your wounds, said the LORD; because they have called you an outcast: 'She is Zion, there is none that cares for her.' {S}

Avraham, Yitzchaq, Ya'aqov & Rachel were each conscious, present. Our role models. They were also all, at one time or another in their lives, cast out & in need of this process of healing which G@d provides. Which meant that they had to be open to it.

There was once a Lakota Sioux woman. All we know about her is that her father was Sitting Bull & her brother was Crow Foot. & we know that her name was Sitting Holy.
Her name sounds like that of a living saint.
Can you imagine having such a powerful name? To be so grounded & present that you could wear such a name? & is it our job in this life to earn our names or to be shaped by them? Or both?
Can we each reach our human potentials to become as living saints? Or do we need others to be saintly for us so we can focus on them?

So how can we best serve The Creator? How do we improve our communities through acting as role models?

Know where you come from. Own who you are. Be where you're at.




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